Senate Passes Johnson Bill to Assist Schools Damaged by Natural Disasters

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Trenton – In recognition of increased incidents of extreme weather, the Senate today approved 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.

 

“Unfortunately, in recent years residents of this State have borne witness to the devastating effects of natural disasters on local school districts. This legislation would aid in the financing of physical repairs caused by such storms,” 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).

 

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 30-1.