School Ethics Commission
The School Ethics Commission is a nine-member body with the power to issue advisory opinions, receive complaints, receive and retain disclosure statements, conduct investigations, hold hearings, and compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents as it may deem necessary to enforce the School Ethics Act. School Ethics Commission Members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Commission is established in the New Jersey Department of Education. The Commission holds its Meetings every month on the fourth Tuesday, except for the December meeting. Commission meetings are held in the Office of Information Technology Building, 200 Riverview Plaza, Conference Room 200/The Board Room, 1st Floor, Trenton, New Jersey. Click here for Directions to the Trenton location.
The School Ethics Act , N.J.S.A. 18A:12-21 et seq. is intended to ensure that the conduct of school officials holds the respect and confidence of the people. The Legislature declared that school officials must avoid conduct which is in violation of their public trust or which creates a justifiable impression that the public trust is being violated. N.J.S.A. 18A:12-22(a). The School Ethics Act applies only to school officials as defined by N.J.S.A. 18A:12-23, which includes administrators . The Act sets forth standards for the following:
- Conflicts of Interest for school officials (N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24(a) through (k)), which applies to all school officials, i.e., board members and school administrators;
- Code of Ethics for School Board Members (N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24.1(a) through (j)), which applies only to school board members and does not apply to administrators;
- Annual disclosure of employment and financial Interests (N.J.S.A. 18A:12-25). Click here for information about filing the Personal/Relative and Financial Disclosure Statements of School Officials;
- NEW! Annual filing of Personal/Relative and Financial Disclosure Statements of School Officials (N.J.S.A. 18A:12-26); and
- School board member training requirements (N.J.S.A. 18A:12-33).
On April 15, 2009, the State Board of Education adopted amendments to the School Ethics Commission Administrative Code, which became effective May 18, 2009. In furtherance of the standards set forth in regulation, the School Ethics Commission:
- Reviews complaints alleging violations of the School Ethics Act. Click here for information about filing a complaint with the School Ethics Commission;
- Issues advisory opinions;
- Enforces the requirement that all school officials file personal/relative and financial disclosure statements; and
- Enforces school board members’ training requirements.
School Ethics Commission decisions and advisory opinions that have been made public are available on the Web, together with information about appeals of School Ethics Commission decisions. The Commission has also provided guidance to local districts that are affected by board member conflicts by adopting the Resolution on Adopting the Doctrine of Necessity.