West Orange Board of Ed Approves New Staff Recruitment Guidelines

Policies require new hires to live in New Jersey

On Monday, the West Orange Board of Education passed new recruitment, selection, and hiring policies for newly hired school staff members who are required to live in New Jersey.

The rules state that any employees hired on or after September 1, 2011 and is not a New Jersey resident must become one within one year, according to papers provided by the school board. If they fail to do so, they would be "deemed unqualified for employment" and will be terminated from their position.

The new school staff rules reflect state law that was signed by Gov. Chris Christie last year. Called the "New Jersey First Act," it became effective last year on September 1 and pertains to public employees.

If a public employee who was hired prior to the law's implementation currently lives outside the state, he or she is not required to meet the new residency requirements unless there's a break in their public service term of more than seven days, according to West Orange school board documents.

Leave of absences would not be considered a break of public service, which is defined to be either "a resignation, retirement, layoff, or disciplinary removal," according to school board documents.

A state Employee Residency Review Committee can allow exemptions based on "critical need or hardship," according to the state law.

"What happens to a current employee who moves out of state," asked Laura Lab, board president. "They lose their job," Lab said, answering her own question.

The new rules approved by the board also details guidelines on qualifications, required background checks, and anti-discrimination policies.

What else you may have missed at Monday's meeting:

*The Harassment Intimidation Board (HIB) recorded five incidents since the last school board meeting.

*Redwood Elementary School is receiving $24,216 from the Redwood Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association in order to buy a dozen SMART boards, also known as interactive whiteboards.

*Students from Liberty School's 8th grade class will be visiting Grounds for Sculpture due to a $700 gift from the Target Field Trip Grant.

*Mount Pleasant School will be buying $2,750 worth of educational technology equipment due to a gift from the West Orange Community House.

*About eight candidates will be interviewed for the position of West Orange High School principal in the next couple of weeks, according to Anthony P. Cavanna, district superintendent. School board members declined to comment on the search.


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