With the new year will come new challenges for school districts across New Jersey. At the top of the list is the potential for shifting the school budget and election votes from April to November. A bill is pending in Trenton which would allow districts to choose whether or not they want to move their election date from April to November.

“Not only would this save the cost of the election, but it would allow for districts to eliminate the vote on the school budget if it’s within the two percent cap that the state has applied,” said Dr. Richard Bozza, Executive Director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators. “This would be a smart move for our schools. Historically, April elections have had low voter turnout. By shifting the elections to November, there will be increased participation as well.”

New Jersey’s schools also are under pressure to implement a new teacher and principal assessment program for the 2012-2013 school year. Currently 11 schools are testing the pilot program through March 2012. “We’d like the state to take some time to evaluate the results of the pilot program before implementation.”

The Garden State is one of 45 states that has adopted the more stringent Common Core State Standards which are expected to change the face of student assessment. The new standards will require more frequent and more comprehensive testing of students.

“We’re just adopting now and implementing kindergarten through second grade math and next year, we’ll be looking at k-12 mathematics and language arts,” said Bozza. “So, there will be a learning curve for teachers and administrators and students as we implement these new standards.”