WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:26-2, any person employed as a teaching
staff member by a district board of education is required to hold a valid
and appropriate teaching certificate; and
WHEREAS, school districts throughout the State of New Jersey hired qualified
individuals for teaching staff positions for the 2004-05 school year with
the expectation that such individuals would receive a certificate in a
timely manner so as to allow them to satisfy the requirements of N.J.S.A.
WHEREAS, the Department of Education began implementing a new computerized
system for the processing of applications for teaching certificates in
2004, which has resulted in excessive and unreasonable delays in the processing
of such applications, in some cases as much as nine months; and
WHEREAS, approximately 1000 such applications have yet to be processed
by the Department; and
WHEREAS, individuals who have met all of New Jersey's requirements for
a teaching certificate but who have not yet received documentation from
the Department of Education because of the aforementioned delays and who
are currently employed by school districts throughout the state for the
2004-05 school year are utilizing a county substitute credential pending
receipt of a certificate; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:9-6.5, the holder of a county substitute
credential may serve in a teaching position for no more than 20 consecutive
days in the same position in one school district during the school year;
WHEREAS, school districts are concerned about the disruption that will
ensue in classrooms throughout the state if individuals who are qualified
to receive a New Jersey teaching certificate but who have not yet received
it due to circumstances beyond their control are forced to leave their
teaching positions; and
WHEREAS, such disruption in the assignment of instructors, instruction
of students and the completion of curriculum will endanger the health,
safety and resources of the State, and is too large in scope to be handled
effectively by the school districts of the State; and
WHEREAS, the Constitution and Statutes of the State of New Jersey, particularly
the provisions of the Laws of 1942, Chapter 251 (N.J.S.A. App.A:9-33 et
seq.) and all amendments and supplements thereto confer upon the Governor
of the State of New Jersey certain emergency powers; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary to invoke those emergency powers under the
circumstances outlined above in order to protect the health, safety and
welfare of the children of the State of New Jersey;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES E. McGREEVEY, Governor of the State of New
Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
by the Statutes of this State, do hereby DECLARE a State of Emergency
and ORDER and DIRECT as follows:
- I declare a State of Emergency exists in school districts throughout
the State by reason of the facts and circumstances set forth above.
- I invoke such emergency powers as are conferred upon me in accordance
with N.J.S.A. App. A:9-33 et seq, and all supplements and amendments thereto.
- Notwithstanding any other law or regulation to the contrary, school
districts may allow teachers who had an application filed for a teaching
certificate with the Department of Education as of August 1, 2004, as
described above, to remain in the same position in the same school for
an additional 30 school days, provided that the school district agrees
to pay these individuals the agreed upon salary for teaching staff members
retroactively to the beginning of the 2004-05 school year after they receive
a New Jersey teaching certificate.
- The Department of Education shall implement the following measures
to ensure the timely processing of teaching certificate applications:
- All telephone lines designated by the Department for inquiries related
to the status of teaching certificate applications shall be open and
fully staffed between the hours of 4 PM and 8 PM, Monday through Friday.
- Mail containing applications for teaching certificates shall be opened
on the day in which it was received, and scanned into the Teacher Certification
System no later than 48 hours thereafter.
- Additional examiners shall be trained and shall supplement existing
staff until the backlog in applications has been eliminated.
- This Order shall take effect immediately, and it shall remain in
effect until such time as I determine that an emergency no longer exists.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 12th day of
October in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand
and Four, and of the Independence of the United
States, the Two Hundred and Twenty-Ninth.
/s/ James E. McGreevey
/s/ Mark J. Fleming
Deputy Chief Counsel to the Governor