Acting on his commitment to work in a bipartisan manner to get results for the people of New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie yesterday signed into law legislation allowing for local school board and budget elections to be moved from April to November. The bill, passed with bipartisan support in the legislature, puts into law a tool kit proposal originally introduced by Governor Christie in May 2010.
“After decades in Trenton of fruitlessly discussing the idea of moving school district elections to November, leaders in this state have again demonstrated that we can get things done for the people of New Jersey when we work together,” said Governor Christie. “This bipartisan tool kit bill finally gives real pathways for school boards or voters to move district elections to November, providing the bright prospect for both local government savings and increased voter participation in the process. With this legislation now law, I urge school board members and voters in every one of our districts to act as quickly as possible to take hold of these benefits.”
The legislation, A-4394/S-3148, establishes procedures for moving the date of a school district’s annual school election to the day of the general election in November. Under the first procedure, the date of the annual school election may be moved to November upon the adoption of a resolution by the board of education or the governing body of the municipality.
Alternatively, a ballot question would be presented to a school district’s voters for their approval if a petition is filed with the board of education, signed by not less than 15 percent of the number of legally qualified voters who voted in the district at the last presidential general election. The district would then hold a vote on the petition in the subsequent November election.
A district that has moved its annual school election to November would not require voter approval for a base budget, but any proposal to exceed the 2 percent tax levy cap would be presented for voter approval in November. District board members elected in November would take office at the beginning of January.