Proposal would allow certain school districts to shift election to November

TRENTON – Bills have been introduced that would allow type II school districts – those with elected school boards – to move their annual election to the general election day in November.

In addition, the legislation – A4360/S3128 – would eliminate voter approval of a district’s base budget – a budget that does not exceed the tax cap – if the election date is shifted to November.

The Assembly bill is sponsored by Louis Greenwald, (D-6), Camden; the Senate version by Donald Norcross, (D-5), Camden.

The proposal would set up procedures for moving the election day from the spring.

Under one option, voters would be asked to approve the move, or a petition could be presented with signatures of at least 15 percent of those who voted in the preceding general election for state lawmakers.

Under the other option, the annual school election may be moved to November without voter approval, upon the adoption of a resolution by the board of education or the governing body of the municipality.

Districts seeking to exceed the tax levy cap still would have to obtain voter approval. And districts still must submit their proposed budgets to the state Education commissioner for approval.

School elections traditionally draw low turnouts, often in the mid 20 percent range.  This month’s general election fared poorly in terms of turnout as well: about 26 percent.

In this spring’s school elections, despite low turnout at the polls, voters did OK approximately 80 percent of the proposed budgets. Proposal would allow certain school districts to shift election to November