TRENTON – The full state Senate will take up the controversial bills of restructuring the state’s Higher Education System and teacher tenure, only a couple of days after they were released from the Senate Budget Committee.
The voting session is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Thursday.
The Higher Education Restructuring Act calls for the following things. They include:
* transferring all but one school that makes up the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to Rutgers University;
* Rowan University taking over the School of Osteopathic Medicine;
* establishing a governing body for University Hospital, which will remain separate from Rutgers University;
* a separate governing body for Rutgers University-Camden.
The other controversial bill, S1455, calls for reforming the teacher tenure system. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Teresa Ruiz, calls for extending the tenure eligibility period from three years to four years. It also calls for:
*giving principals more influence on what teachers could be in their respective schools;
* revoking tenure if there are two consecutive ineffective evaluations.
Perhaps the most important part of the bill is the dramatic reduction in time to decide and hear tenure cases. The cases would be heard by an administrative law judge.
Some other key bills that will be voted on by the upper house include:
S600 – A bill establishing a task force to study various issues related to improving special education programs and services for public school students.
S945 – A bill requiring certain registration and reporting requirements to prevent tigers from being traded illegally.
S1693 – A bill giving police the authority to inform the president of a public or independent institution of higher education when a student is charged or convicted of certain crimes.
S1928 – This bill removes gift cards from the ranks of escheatable property. The issue came to a head after the state passed a law allowing the government – not the card issuer – to take claim to unspent funds, and companies such as American Express threatened to stop issuing the cards in New Jersey.
S2501 – A bill establishing a new public-private partnership agreement option for construction of state and county college facilities.