When Religious Holidays and NJ School Budgets Collide
Towns in New Jersey will now have more time to review rejected school budgets whenever the annual school district elections are postponed due to religious holidays.
Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill changing the law. This year’s school elections fall on Passover.
“I’ve worked hard with local government leaders to make sure municipal boards will have enough time to thoroughly review defeated school budgets and determine how much of the people’s property taxes are necessary to fund each budget item,” said Sen. Tony Bucco (R-Denville), the bill's sponsor. “It’s common sense to give them the same amount of time from the election to the deadline to modify a defeated school spending plan.”
Under the old law, if the voters defeat any item submitted at the annual school election on the third Tuesday in April, the governing body of each municipality in the district must determine an appropriate school spending plan by May 19.
Under the new law, whenever the state education commissioner changes the date of the annual April school election, the commissioner must also change the May 19 deadline. This is done to ensure that governing bodies have the same number of days to make their school spending determinations.
“This year’s school election date falls on Passover, and the commissioner of education has already decided to move the election date back,” Bucco said. “Without this extra time, municipalities would have had too much pressure to conduct a detailed financial analysis and the people’s money could be misspent.”