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Whelan Bill Aimed at Increasing Candidate Participation in School Board Elections Now Law

Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic, speaking at a panel discussion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Law Moves School Board Filing Deadline to Last Monday in July

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan that changes the state’s filing deadline for November school board elections in an attempt to increase the number of individuals running to serve on the boards was signed into law on Friday.

“We have made significant efforts to increase public participation in school board elections. First we allowed school districts to move their elections from April to the typically higher-turnout elections in November. Now with the passage of this law, we are completing the process by moving the filing deadline for school board candidates closer to the election date, which may encourage more individuals to run to represent their communities on these boards,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic.

The law, S-2086, changes the deadline for school board candidates to file petitions to the last Monday in July. Previously, candidates had to file by 4 pm on the day of the primary, held in June.

A 2012 law allows for school districts to move their annual elections from the third Tuesday in April to coincide with the general election held in November. Since the law’s adoption, more than 500 school districts have moved their election dates.

“New Jersey has some excellent candidates running for school board; men and women who really want what is best for our kids and our schools,” said Senator Whelan.  “With the filing deadline falling in the spring, when many families were busy with end of year activities from vacations to graduations, we were concerned that many qualified candidates were choosing not to run. By moving the filing deadline to July, I am hopeful that we can grow the number of quality individuals who run to represent their communities and our children on school boards.”

The Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey School Boards Association and the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association all support the legislation.

The law goes into effect on January 1st

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