Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein and Senator Troy Singleton, which would provide non-teaching employees of local, county, or regional school districts, as well as boards or commissions the right to dispute disciplinary action through arbitration, passed the Senate today.
“The many non-teaching personnel employed in our schools are essential assets in our efforts to properly serve the needs of our students,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “They influence the lives of our students in a multitude of ways and it is essential for these individuals to have the same rights afforded to them as their teacher colleagues.”
Under the bill, S-993, a non-teaching employee’s right to dispute any disciplinary action through litigation would include, but not be limited to: the withholding of increments, termination, non-renewal expiration or lapse of an employment contract or term; and/or the lack of continuation of employment regardless of the reason for the employer’s actions or failures to act regardless of any contractual, or negotiated provision or lack thereof.
“These are individuals who impact the development of our student population regularly, yet are currently unable to defend themselves through litigation as their counterparts currently can,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “It is disrespectful and erroneous to deny an employee a standard right over a discrepancy in their title. This legislation would right this wrong and ensure that treating people with fairness isn’t just preached in our schools, but is exercised as well.”
The bill would also place the burden of proof in the course of the arbitration on the employer to justify the actions taken.
The non-teaching employees that would benefit from this bill would include head teachers, principals and other administrators of schools, supervisors, counselors, school psychologists, school health personnel, librarians or educational media specialists, curriculum developers, inspectors, education administrators, clerical personnel, building operations and maintenance staff, security personnel, transportation workers and catering staff.
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 32-2.