18A:7G-4 Long-range facilities plan; facilities efficiency standards; time lines.
4. a. By December 15, 2000 and by October 1, 2005, each district shall prepare and submit to the commissioner a long-range facilities plan that details the district's school facilities needs and the district's plan to address those needs for the ensuing five years. Following the approval of the 2005 long-range facilities plan, each district shall amend its long-range facilities plan at least once every five years to update enrollment projections, building capacities, and health and safety conditions. The long-range facilities plan shall incorporate the facilities efficiency standards and shall be filed with the commissioner for approval in accordance with those standards. For those Abbott districts that have submitted long-range facilities plans to the commissioner prior to the effective date of P.L.2000, c.72 (C.18A:7G-1 et al.), this subsection shall not be read to require an additional filing by October 1, 2000.
b.Notwithstanding any other law or regulation to the contrary, an application for a school facilities project pursuant to section 5 of P.L.2000, c.72 (C.18A:7G-5) shall not be approved unless the district has filed a long-range facilities plan that is consistent with the application and the plan has been approved by the commissioner; except that prior to October 1, 2000, the commissioner may approve an application if the project is necessary to protect the health or safety of occupants of the school facility, or is related to required early childhood education programs, or is related to a school facility in which the functional capacity is less than 90% of the facilities efficiency standards based on current school enrollment, or the district received bids on the school facilities project prior to the effective date of P.L.2000, c.72 (C.18A:7G-1 et al.) and the district demonstrates that further delay will negatively affect the cost of the project.
c.An amendment to a long-range facilities plan may be submitted at any time to the commissioner for review and determination on the approval or disapproval of the amendment.
d.Each long-range facilities plan shall include a cohort survival methodology or other methodology approved by the commissioner, accompanied by a certification by a qualified demographer retained by the district that serves as the basis for identifying the capacity and program needs detailed in the long-range facilities plan.
e.The long-range facilities plan shall include an educational adequacy inventory of all existing school facilities in the district including the adequacy of school facilities to educate within the district the existing and projected number of pupils with disabilities, the identification of all deficiencies in the district's current inventory of school facilities, which includes the identification of those deficiencies that involve emergent health and safety concerns, and the district's proposed plan for future construction and renovation. The long-range facilities plan submissions shall conform to the guidelines, criteria and format prescribed by the commissioner.
f.Each district shall determine the number of "unhoused students" for the ensuing five-year period calculated pursuant to the provisions of section 8 of P.L.2000, c.72 (C.18A:7G-8).
g.Each district shall submit the long-range facilities plan to the planning board of the municipality or municipalities in which the district is situate for the planning board's review and findings and the incorporation of the plan's goals and objectives into the municipal master plan adopted by the municipality pursuant to section 19 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-28).
h.The commissioner shall develop, for the March 2002 Report on the Cost of Providing a Thorough and Efficient Education issued by the commissioner pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1996, c.138 (C.18A:7F-4), facilities efficiency standards for elementary, middle, and high schools consistent with the core curriculum school delivery assumptions in the report and sufficient for the achievement of the core curriculum content standards, including the provision of required programs in Abbott districts and early childhood education programs in the districts in which these programs are required by the State. The area allowances per FTE student in each class of the district shall be derived from these facilities efficiency standards. The commissioner shall revise the facilities efficiency standards and the area cost allowance in accordance with such schedule as the commissioner deems necessary. The commissioner shall publish the revised facilities efficiency standards and the area cost allowance in the New Jersey Register and, within a reasonable period of time after 30 days following publication, shall file the revised facilities efficiency standards and the area cost allowance with the Office of Administrative Law for publication in the New Jersey Register and those standards shall become effective immediately upon filing. During the 30-day period the commissioner shall provide an opportunity for public comment on the proposed facilities efficiency standards and the area cost allowance.
The facilities efficiency standards developed by the commissioner shall not be construction design standards but rather shall represent the instructional spaces, specialized instructional areas, and administrative spaces that are determined by the commissioner to be educationally adequate to support the achievement of the core curriculum content standards including the provision of required programs in Abbott districts and early childhood education programs in the districts in which these programs are required by the State. A district may design, at its discretion, the educational and other spaces to be included within the school facilities project. The design of the project may eliminate spaces in the facilities efficiency standards, include spaces not in the facilities efficiency standards, or size spaces differently than in the facilities efficiency standards upon a demonstration of the adequacy of the school facilities project to deliver the core curriculum content standards pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection g. of section 5 of P.L.2000, c.72 (C.18A:7G-5).
Within a reasonable period of time after the effective date of P.L.2000, c.72 (C.18A:7G-1 et al.), the commissioner shall publish the facilities efficiency standards developed for the 2000-2001, 2001-2002, and 2002-2003 school years in the New Jersey Register. Within a reasonable period of time after 30 days after publication in the New Jersey Register, the commissioner shall file the facilities efficiency standards with the Office of Administrative Law and those standards shall become effective immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law. During the 30-day period the commissioner shall provide an opportunity for public comment on the proposed facilities efficiency standards.
i.Within 90 days of the commissioner's receipt of a long-range facilities plan for review, the commissioner shall determine whether the plan is fully and accurately completed and whether all information necessary for a decision on the plan has been filed by the district. If the commissioner determines that the plan is complete, the commissioner shall promptly notify the district in writing and shall have 60 days from the date of that notification to determine whether to approve the plan or not. If the commissioner determines that the plan is not complete, the commissioner shall notify the district in writing. The district shall provide to the commissioner whatever information the commissioner determines is necessary to make the plan accurate and complete. The district shall submit that information to the commissioner, and the commissioner shall have 60 days from the date of receipt of accurate and complete information to determine whether to approve the plan or not.
j.Notwithstanding any provision in subsection i. of this section, if at any time the number of long-range facilities plans filed by school districts with the commissioner and pending review exceeds 20% of the number of school districts in New Jersey, the commissioner may extend by 60 days the deadline for reviewing each plan pending at that time.
k.(Deleted by amendment, P.L.2007, c.260).
l.By July 1, 2001, the commissioner shall provide the Legislature with recommendations to address the circumstances of districts which are contiguous with two or more Abbott districts. The recommendations shall address the issues of the financing of school facilities projects and the funding of the educational and other programs required within these districts as a result of their unique demographic situation.
m.By July 1, 2001, the commissioner shall study the Safe Schools Design Guidelines, prepared by the Florida Center for Community Design and Research, which address the issues of school safety and security through the design of school facilities. Based upon the commissioner's study, the commissioner shall issue recommendations to districts on the appropriateness of including the Safe Schools Design Guidelines in the design and construction of school facilities projects.
L.2000, c.72, s.4; amended 2007, c.137, s.19; 2007, c.260, s.40.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016