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(28th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo to help ensure education quality by limiting the amount of time a school district can use substitute teachers to fill vacancies is now law.
One law (A-3217) provides that a vacant teaching position cannot be filled by one or more individuals holding a substitute credential for a total amount of time exceeding 20 school days in any school year.
“State Board of Education regulations currently require that a substitute teacher may not serve in the same position for more than 20 days during the school year,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “However, some districts have adopted the practice of placing a different substitute teacher in that position every 20 days. This will end that practice and ensure that students are taught by appropriately certified school teachers.”
The other law (A-3218) provides that a vacant teaching position can be filled by one or more substitute teachers holding certificates of eligibility or certificates of eligibility with advanced standing and working in an area authorized by their credentials for more than 60 school days, if the executive county superintendent of schools grants an extension upon application from the school district demonstrating its inability to hire an appropriately certified teacher for the vacant position.
“Education has never been important than it is right now in this global society,” Caputo said. “If we’re going to make sure our children and schools remain competitive, then we have to make sure our children are being taught by appropriate teachers. A substitute teacher is a valued member of our educational system, but generally they are not supposed to long-term solutions to vacant positions.”
Both bills were signed into law on Wednesday.