Hurricane Sandy Information

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If a student enrolls in my school due to displacement from the storm, how can I enter the student into NJSMART?
If you do enroll a displaced student, you can log into NJSMART and transfer that student in real time.  If you have any questions, you can contact the NJSMART help desk at njsmart@pcgus.com  for help on how to complete this process.

Q: Are students that have been displaced by the storm eligible for free the federal free-meals program?
Any displaced student that qualifies as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act automatically qualifies for the free meals program. Here is a memo from the Department of Agriculture that provides additional details as well as other valuable information about food availability and nutrition during this difficult time.

Q: Are school districts that enroll displaced students eligible for additional aid?
School districts that receive students who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy may be eligible to receive reimbursement from FEMA for expenses incurred as a result of their bringing those displaced students into their schools. In order for districts to be eligible to receive any reimbursement they must file a Request for Public Assistance form which can be found here.
Note that if you do enroll a displaced student from out of state, you will be eligible for state assistance for that student.  You can find the application form, as well as other helpful information about serving displaced students, at the following link: http://nj.gov/education/students/homeless/.

Q: Has the submission date for the Application for State School Aid (ASSA) been extended?
Last week, we extended the submission date for the Application for State School Aid (ASSA) from October 31st to November 9th for all school districts.  If your district has been severely impacted and you will not be able to meet this deadline, you can send an email to assa@doe.state.nj.us to request an extension.

Similarly, we extended the deadlines to November 9 for the following submissions: Debt Service data collection, Charter School Enrollment System data collection, District Report of Transported Resident Students (DRTRS) submission, and the audit due date for private schools for students with disabilities (PSSD).  If you are unable to meet any of these deadlines, please reach out to your Department contact for these collections and we will work with you to accommodate your request.

Q: Have the submissions deadlines for federal reporting been extended?
We are also seeking extensions of federal data reporting deadlines managed by the USDOE.  These extensions will afford us with the rare opportunity to modify mandatory submission deadlines for the statewide State, Staff, and Special Education data collections through the NJSMART data system. The new deadline for these required data collections is Friday, November 30, 2012, by 5:00 PM EST. Data submitted after this deadline cannot be accepted. Meeting this deadline is critical in that these submissions inform district funding. District executives are encouraged to connect with their designated NJSMART users to communicate this deadline shift and evaluate the status of these required submissions. All New Jersey school districts and charter schools are encouraged to submit their respective files at the current time if they are in a position to do so. The NJSMART Help Desk is available each business day to support authorized users by telephone at 1-800-254-0295; or via the following email address: njsmart@pcgus.com. This additional time provides all LEAs with some needed relief as we work together to restore a sense of normalcy for our students, staff and school communities.

Q: Who should superintendents or district personnel contact if they have questions/concerns?
Our Executive County Superintendents have been working with their districts and they should still be the first point of contact for any questions, concerns and updates on the status of schools in individual districts. If, for whatever reason, the ECSs are unable to be reached reach or a response is not received within one day, please call the Department directly to ensure a timely response.  Please call 609-341-3613 at any time in these instances and we will respond as quickly as possible.

Q: Will the state waive the 180 day requirement for school days given the extended closures this week?
A: This is something that we will consider in the days and weeks ahead, but at this point no decisions have been made.  Our number one focus right now is helping schools get back online and helping students return to the classroom.  We will share more information as we address this question.

Q: Will there be any delay in payments of state aid that were due this week?
A: The state aid payment will go out as planned on November 8th, and the nonpublic nursing payment went out on November 1st as planned.  However, the Nonpublic Chapters 192/193 payments will be delayed due to storm damage to the state's system.  It is anticipated that this will be repaired in time for the payment to go out towards the end of the week of November 5th.

Q: How should districts move forward in serving displaced students?
We have a collective responsibility to help all students that are displaced by the storm. The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act outlines the requirements for serving such students. This  memo provides guidance for districts on the specifics of the law, as well as regional and statewide contacts when districts need additional support.

We urge you to put the needs of our students first and do whatever you can to provide safe learning environments for all students displaced by the storm.  If a child is displaced and relocates to a different school district, the law requires that the new district enroll that student immediately and suspend the request for documents normally required.  If a district is open and but students have been displaced, the law allows children to continue in their school of origin, even if they are permanently displaced. 

If districts have any questions, staff can reach out to their county office, any of the regional directors listed in the memo, or Danielle Anderson Thomas, the state coordinator of Education of Homeless Children and Youth Programs, at 609-984-4974 or danielle.anderson-thomas@doe.state.nj.us.

Q: Will the deadline for data and audit submissions due this week be extended?
A: We are extending each of the following data submissions as listed below.  For those school districts that were severely impacted by the storm, we will work with them to help accommodate individual circumstances.

  • Application for State School Aid (ASSA) submission deadline is moved from October 31st to November 9th for all school districts.  Revised timelines will be forthcoming.
  • Debt Service data collection deadline is moved from November 1st to November 9th.
  • Charter School Enrollment System data collection deadline is moved from November 2nd to November 9th.
  • District Report of Transported Resident Students (DRTRS) submission deadline is moved from October 31st to November 9th.
  • The audit due date for private schools for students with disabilities (PSSD) is moved from November 1st to November 9th.  Extensions beyond that date may be requested in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-5.  Waiver applications are available via this link: http://www.state.nj.us/education/sboe/ew/ and should be submitted to the county office in which the PSSD is located.  An application for a waiver of the audit due date should include the circumstances of the delayed submission as well as the expected submission date.

Q: Will the 11/2 deadline for districts to verify student enrollment for student Interdistrict School Choice applications be extended?
A: Yes.  The deadline will be extended until November 16th for students' letters of intent and to November 26th for districts to confirm student eligibility.  Updated web links and information can be found here.

Q: For teachers who cannot get in due to mass transit issues or  blocked roads preventing their commute to school need to use personal or sick days?
All decisions with regard to the use of personal or sick days are local ones and should be discussed with district officials.

Q: Because the NJEA convention has been cancelled, can or should schools be open on Thursday, November 8th and Friday, November 9th?
A:  We appreciate the significant logistical challenges the NJEA faced in deciding to cancel their annual convention and we commend them for reaching a decision that reflects sensitivity to the needs of students, schools and districts as they work to return to normalcy in the aftermath of the storm.  Many districts lost nearly a full week of school and some are struggling to reopen even this week.  Returning our students to the classroom is a critical priority.  In light of the cancellation of the convention, we strongly urge districts and teachers to work together to hold classes next week to ensure our students do not lose any additional instructional time.