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Board of Education Approves Moving School Elections to November

The Lawrence Township school board also took action Wednesday to revise the current school year’s calendar to build in additional emergency closing make-up days.

During their meeting held Wednesday evening (Nov. 14), members of the Lawrence Township Board of Education voted to move the annual school board election to November, district officials confirmed.

Legislation signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in January of this year allows local school boards to move elections from April to November to coincide with the state’s general election. Any district that makes such a move is no longer required to submit its budgets for voter approval provided that the budget does not exceed the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap. A budget in excess of the cap would still require the approval of voters.

 

The school board also took action Wednesday to revise the current school year’s calendar to build in additional emergency closing make-up days.

As a result of Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent loss of power to much of the township, all public schools were closed for the entire week of Oct. 29-Nov. 2.  

Three emergency closing make-up days were already built into the school calendar; to make up three of the five storm-lost days, school will now be held on those previously built-in days: March 22, April 1, and May 28.

The other two days lost because of Hurricane Sandy were actually made up last week when school was held on Nov. 8 and 9 due to the state teachers’ convention in Atlantic City being cancelled.

The four new emergency closing make-up days approved by the board Wednesday night are: Feb. 15, March 15, March 27 and March 28.

Feb. 15 and March 15 were previously scheduled as days off for students, with faculty reporting to work for training and professional development. If additional school days are lost due to snow or other events, those days will be made up on Feb. 15 and March 15, with professional development for staff pushed back to June 21 and June 24. If Feb. 15 and March 15 are not needed as make-up days, students will still have those days off and teachers will attend their training as planned.

The other two make-up days of March 27 and 28 fall in the middle of the district’s spring recess. The other days of that week – March 25, 26 and 29 – cannot be used as make-up days, district officials said, because they are religious holidays.

 

Charles Dismukes November 15, 2012 at 04:41 PM
To: Lawrence Township families with school children We, the people, have just lost a vital tool in the governance of LTPS. Last night the BOE voted to take away our option for voting to approve/disapprove the school budget, provided it remains under the 2% cap mandated by the State. The timing of BOE elections was also moved forward, thus ensuring another 6 months of their historical priorities. How did this come about? Voter apathy, inadequate or misinformation about the BOE and LTPS admin meeting agendas, or as many residents express, fear of reprisal to their school children (whether real or perceived). Regardless, we no longer have the fiscal power to influence the allocation of financial resources that educate our children. This is a tragic outcome. As you squabble over crumbs at “Community Conversations”, like whether your pet program at one school or another should not be cut as much as others, you just lost your right to determine what will be on the whole district menu. The real banquet goes to the pet programs proposed, ratified and funded by the BOE and the Superintendent’s priorities. And if that can be done with as little public input on budgeting as I have seen, we will surely continue to see the gutting of the core education funds in favor of special interest groups. So fellow citizens, who’s at fault? Is it your apathy, inadequate notification, or fear that keeps you at home and silent off-line? Orwell’s Big Brother is looking out for you.

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