“Exempts school district employees in certain counties from requirement to reside in State as pilot project; requires DOE report.”

NJEA supports S-2169 (Barnes).  This bill would exempt a school district employee from the residency requirement under the New Jersey First Act if that person works in a school district in one of the following counties:  Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, Essex, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Mercer, Burlington, or Camden County.

When it originally passed in 2011, NJEA opposed the New Jersey First Act for several reasons.  Chief among them is that NJEA believes that this type of law creates a disincentive to attract the “best and brightest” teaching and non-teaching staff to our public schools.  We believe our public schools should not be limited when recruiting talented individuals to perform our state’s most important function of educating our children.   It should not matter where an individual resides.

Furthermore, NJEA continues to believe that the New Jersey First Act will lead to other states passing similar laws in retaliation.  Legislators in New York, for example, have introduced legislation.  Such laws would put New Jersey residents out of work at a time when we are still struggling with unemployment and a faltering economy. 

By exempting school employees from the residency requirements in 10 counties, thousands of employees who are already deeply committed to our New Jersey public schools can breathe a sigh of relief that their jobs are not in danger, given where they live.  Thousands more will have the comfort of knowing that their jobs cannot be jeopardized if they are faced with hardship and forced to move out of state for any reason.

However, NJEA believes this is a first step and that the school employees in the remaining 11 counties, and all public employees, should also be relieved of the residency requirement.  NJEA will continue to advocate for a full repeal of the New Jersey First Act. 

NJEA urges your support of this bill.