Rice Bill Requires Background Check For Charer School Board Memebers

Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-Essex)

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice, which would require members of the board of trustees of a charter school to undergo criminal history background checks as a condition of serving on the board, was approved by the full Senate today by a vote of 31 to 5.

“These people interact with our children and deal with their well being and safety on a daily basis,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “We have a right to know if these people are safe

to have around our children and a reasonable expectation that the board of trustees are proper role models, not a bunch of crooks and thieves.”

The bill, S-70, would require members of the board of trustees of a charter school to undergo criminal history background checks as a condition of service on the board; the same conditions that govern the continued employment of private and public school employees. The bill would also require that all first time board trustees complete a training program, focusing on the skills and knowledge necessary to serve as a trustee. This training program would also include instructional information relative to the trustee’s responsibilities under the ‘School Ethics Act.’

“A charter school has the same responsibilities that any other school in New Jersey has: the education of our children,” said Senator Rice. “Therefore, we should hold its members to the same standards that apply to the rest of the teachers and board members across the state. This way, we can ensure that no matter what schools they attend in New Jersey, our children are receiving the best education possible to make them productive members of our society.”

The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration. ###

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