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Committee Advances Johnson Bill to Assist Schools Damaged by Natural Disasters


Trenton – In recognition of increased incidents of extreme weather, the Senate Education Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Gordon Johnson to streamline the financing process for school repairs related to natural disasters by permitting the issuance of bonds by school districts, without the need for referendum.


“After witnessing the brutal effects of Hurricane Ida on local school districts, this bill would aid in the financing of physical repairs from damages caused by natural disasters,” said Senator Johnson (D-Bergen). “This bill would allow school districts to jumpstart their recovery by immediately seeking approval for financing from the Commissioner of Education, rather than relying on the lengthy referendum process.”


The bill, S-1892, would create alternate processes for issuing bonds to finance school-related costs for repairs of school facilities damaged by weather-related disasters. Under the bill, rather than requiring a public referendum, the Commissioner of Education could authorize the local board of education to approve a resolution for the bonding by a two-thirds vote of full board membership.


Bonds, under the provisions of this bill, would be issued if the school-related repairs are necessary in order to provide a thorough and efficient system of education within the district and if the repair costs are eligible for reimbursement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).