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13 N.J.A.R. 892

Passaic, Bd. of Ed. of the Township of; Citizens Advocating Referendum for Education (CARE) v
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Citation: 13 N.J.A.R. 892
Decision Date: 1989
Agency: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Synopsis: Petitioners, taxpayers residing in Passaic Township, opposed the application of respondent board of education for approval of a lease/purchase agreement that would enable the district to replace four existing school buildings with a new elementary school. The Commissioner of Education transmitted the matter to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing as a contested case. The administrative law judge assigned to the case noted that board of education actions reorganizing schools should be upheld if the board has a rational basis for the reorganization plan and did not act illegally or arbitrarily. In this case, the judge found that the board had a rational basis for deciding to replace four buildings with one new facility and to do so by entering into a lease/purchase agreement. The judge also concluded that the board followed the correct procedure in applying for approval of the lease/purchase agreement. Accordingly, the judge denied petitioner's request for re- lief. Upon review, this initial decision was adopted by the Com- missioner of Education with one modification. The administrative law judg e had modified the lease/purchase agreement by removing certain amounts for furniture and capitalized interest. The Commissioner held that the administrative law judge exceeded his authority because N.J.A.C. 6:22A-1.2(i) prohibits altering lease/purchase agreements without the written consent of the Commissioner. The State Board of EduCation subsequently dismissed this appeal after Passaic Township decided not to pursue the lease/purchase plan State of New Jersey 893 because voters approved a budget that provided funds for capital improvements to the district's schools. Arnold H. Chait, Esq., for petitioners (Vogel, Chait, Schwartz and Collins, attorneys) James Rothschild, Jr., Esq., for Board of Education of the Township of Passaic, respondent (Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti, attorneys) John R. Pidgeon, Esq., for Passaic Township Committee, intervenor (Pidgeon & Pidgeon, attorneys)
Rule(s) Cited: 6:24-1.2(b)