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Legal Memorandum: Determination of Noncompliance of School Laws

Issue: According to New Jersey law, where can an appeal from a decision of noncompliance on the part of a school district be filed ?

Area of Law: Education Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Appeal against determination; Noncompliance of school laws; School district
Jurisdiction: New Jersey
Cited Cases: 466 F. Supp. 1364; 45 N.J. 268; 114 N.J. 574
Cited Statutes: N.J.S.A. 18A:6-9; N.J.A.C. 6A:3; N.J.A.C. 6A:14-9.1(h); N.J.A.C. 6A:3-1.3(i)
Date: 07/01/2006

           Under N.J.S.A. 18A:6-9, “the commissioner shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine, without cost to the parties, all controversies and disputes arising under the school laws.”  Likewise, “an appeal of the denial of approval of a corrective action plan, imposition of sanctions or determination of noncompliance may be made to the Commissioner of Education according to N.J.A.C. 6A:3.”  N.J.A.C. 6A:14-9.1(h).  Appeal must be made to the Commissioner of Education.  N.J.A.C. 6A:3-1.3(i) generally requires appeal to be perfected within 90 days of receipt of the final order.

In disciplinary matters, “actual bias becomes the touchstone of disqualification.  The probability of actual bias is grounds for disqualification when the decisionmaker has a pecuniary interest in the outcome of the matter or has been the target of personal criticism from one seeking relief.”  In Re Carberry, 114 N.J. 574 (1989).  “An agency head, however, does not automatically become partial or unfair merely because that person has become familiar with the facts of the case through the performance of statutory or administrative duties.”  Id.  “Nor is disqualification automatically required merely because a decisionmaker has announced an opinion on a disputed issue.”  Id.; see also Kramer v. Board of Adjustment, Sea Girt, 45 N.J. 268 (1965).

However, the U.S. District Court for New Jersey ordered the Superintendent of the New Jersey Division of State Police, who was the ultimate decisionmaker in a disciplinary proceeding against a lieutenant officer, to refer the matter to the OAL […]

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