The New Jersey Department of Education has issued more details about the new rules allowing school districts to shift their board elections to November – a move the Manchester Township Board of Education has already approved.
The DOE offered answers to frequently asked questions regarding the new law, which allows districts that move their elections to forgo a budget referendum. Manchester's board voted to move on Jan. 18 its annual election to line up with the general election in November last month, as did many other districts in Ocean County and across the state.
According to the law, the county clerk will take over control of elections moved to November, acting as filing officer for nomination petitions, ruling on objections to nominations and designing the set-up of the ballot.
Ballots will include school board candidates in a separate section of the general ballot, according to the DOE, and candidates "will not be aligned with any political party or partisan candidates."
Districts that move their vote will not have to pay for "base costs" of elections, including paying board workers and election personnel, transporting voting machines, renting polling places, printing ballots or other costs, according to the state. A district would, however, be responsible for any increased costs incurred by the shifting of school elections to November. Those costs are expected to be minimal, said the DOE.
Moving the vote also requires districts to change the organization schedule of the district's board of education, requiring them to reorganize in the first week in January instead of in the spring.
Districts that want to revert to April elections after moving to November can do so only after four years of fall elections.