State: Dozen school directors disqualified for failing to get background checks

TRENTON – The state Education Department issued a list today of a dozen board of education members or charter school trustees who have been disqualified for not getting background checks done in time.

Last month, two lawmakers asked for an extension because of the number of board members who were leaving because of noncompliance.

They pointed out that some school directors simply were unaware of the rules.

The state granted an extension until Jan. 27, then reported today that a dozen board members or charter school trustees were being disqualified because they had failed to meet the deadline and get the background checks completed.

In addition, the Department said there were another 17 individuals disqualified because their background checks disclosed a crime.

“Since July 2011, when implementation of the law began, a total of 5,159 school board members and trustees of charter schools submitted to the fingerprinting,” the Department said in a release.  “The Department of Education sent four notifications to board members informing them of the need to comply with the mandated background check law before December 31, and then extended the deadline to January 27 to ensure minimal disruption to boards.”

This afternoon, Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, (D-18), South Plainfield, said, “In all honesty anyone who failed to at least reach out after the extension, I can’t imagine giving them too much pity as this point.”

Diegnan, who also is chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, and who was one of the legislators who sought an extension by the state, said he wanted to congratulate the commissioner of the Education Department for working with the lawmakers to give people as much time as reasonable to get the checks done. 

“We have worked hard over the past six months to ensure minimal disruption to school boards and charter schools, while processing more than 5,000 board members and trustee background checks. All but a dozen individuals met their obligations, under the law,” Department spokeswoman Allison Kobus said in a release.

A list of the 12 who did not get the background checks done is included. It lists Pleasant Tech Charter as being in Camden County but it is located in Atlantic County.

As for the 17 people the Department said were disqualified due to having an offense disclosed, they include school directors from the following:

Knowlton Board of Education in Warren County; Red Bank Charter School in Monmouth; Long Hill Township in Morris; Plainfield in Union;

Bergen County Special Services in Bergen; Winslow in Camden; Charter Tech High School in Atlantic; Keansburg Borough in Monmouth;

Asbury Park in Monmouth; Ringwood in Passaic; Somers Point in Atlantic; Laurel Springs in Camden;

Academy for Urban Leadership in Middlesex; Atlantic City in Atlantic; Woodbury in Gloucester; Hardyston Township in Sussex; and Mullica in Atlantic.

Previous coverage:

State grants extension on background checks for school board members

Green, Diegnan seek more time for compliance with school directors’ background checks


State: Dozen school directors disqualified for failing to get background checks