Lesniak: State Monitor Needed For Elizabeth School Board

TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak today called for the appointment of a State monitor to oversee the financial practices as well as the ethics of the Elizabeth Board of Education.

In a statement to the Assembly Budget Committee, meeting today in Collingswood to gather information on education issues, Senator Lesniak noted that the Elizabeth school board was required to invoke a “doctrine of necessity” so it could vote on a collective bargaining agreement despite ethics conflicts by members.

“The Elizabeth Board of Education needs to be fiscally and ethically monitored before we can trust it with more taxpayer dollars,” said Senator Lesniak, D-Union.

The Democratic lawmaker noted the Elizabeth school board recently bought out the contract of its school superintendent for nearly $600,000 without any State review. With eight of nine members having immediate relatives working for the school board, the panel “could not make a quorum to vote on a collective bargaining agreement because of nepotism,” Senator Lesniak said.

“Couldn’t make a quorum – it couldn=t even get a second,” Senator Lesniak noted. Instead, the panel authorized itself to vote on the collective bargaining agreement 30 days after by adopting a “doctrine of necessity” resolution (attached) on March 16th.