2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 18A - EDUCATION
Section 18A:11-12 - Definitions relative to travel; travel policy; procedures; compliance.


NJ Rev Stat § 18A:11-12 (2013) What's This?

18A:11-12 Definitions relative to travel; travel policy; procedures; compliance.

15. a. As used in this section:

(1)"Travel expenditures" means those costs paid by the school district using local, State, or federal funds, whether directly by the school district or by employee reimbursement, for travel by school district employees and district board of education members, to the following four types of travel events:

(a)"training and seminars" which means all regularly scheduled, formal residential or non-residential training functions, conducted at a hotel, motel, convention center, residential facility, or at any educational institution or facility;

(b)"conventions and conferences" which means general programs, sponsored by professional associations on a regular basis, which address subjects of particular interest to a school district or are convened to conduct association business. The primary purpose of employee attendance at conferences and conventions is the development of new skills and knowledge or the reinforcement of those skills and knowledge in a particular field related to school district operations. These are distinct from formal staff training and seminars, although some training may take place at such events;

(c)"regular school district business" which means all regular official business travel, including attendance at meetings, conferences and any other gatherings which are not covered by the definitions included in subparagraphs (a) and (b) of this paragraph;

(d)"retreats" which mean meetings with school district employees and school board members, held away from the normal work environment at which organizational goals and objectives are discussed. If available, school district facilities shall be utilized for this type of event.

(2)School district travel expenditures include, but are not limited to, all costs for transportation, meals, lodging, and registration or conference fees to and for the travel event.

(3)School district travel expenditures include costs for all required training and all travel authorized in existing school district employee contracts and school board policies. This includes, but is not limited to, required professional development and other staff training, required training for new school board members, and attendance at specific conferences authorized in existing employee contracts.

(4)A school district shall not bear costs for car rentals, limousine services, and chauffeuring costs to or during the event, as well as costs for employee attendance for coordinating other attendees' accommodations at the travel event.

b.A board of education shall implement a policy and procedures pertaining to travel expenditures for its employees and school board members that are in accordance with the provisions of this section.

c.A board of education shall ensure through its policy and procedures that all travel by its employees and board members is educationally necessary and fiscally prudent, and shall include the requirement that all school district travel expenditures are:

(1)directly related to and within the scope of the employee's or board member's current responsibilities and, for school district employees, the school district's professional development plan;

(2)for travel that is critical to the instructional needs of the school district or furthers the efficient operation of the school district; and

(3)in compliance with State travel payment guidelines as established by the Department of the Treasury and with guidelines established by the federal Office of Management and Budget; except that those guidelines that conflict with the provisions of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes shall not be applicable, including, but not limited to, the authority to issue travel charge cards. The board of education shall specify in its travel policy the applicable restrictions and requirements set forth in the State and federal guidelines including, but not limited to, types of travel, methods of transportation, mileage allowance, subsistence allowance, and submission of supporting documentation including receipts, checks or vouchers.

d.A board of education shall include in its travel policy a requirement for the employee or board member to submit to an appropriate party as designated, and within a timeframe specified by the board's policy, a brief report that includes the primary purpose for the travel and the key issues that were addressed at the event and their relevance to improving instruction or the operation of the school district.

e.A board of education shall require in its travel policy that detailed documentation be maintained on file in the school district which demonstrates compliance with the school board's travel policy including travel approvals, reports, and receipts for all school district funded expenditures, as appropriate.

f.For employees, a board of education shall require in its policy that travel occur only upon prior written approval of the chief school administrator and prior approval by a majority of the full voting membership of the board.

For regular business travel only, a school board may authorize in its travel policy an annual maximum amount per employee for regular business travel for which school board approval is not required.

g.For board members, a board of education shall require in its policy that travel occur only upon prior approval by a majority of the full voting membership of the board and that the travel be in compliance with section 4 of P.L.1991, c.393 (C.18A:12-24) and section 5 of P.L.2001, c.178 (C.18A:12-24.1).

h.A school board may also approve, at any time prior to the event, travel for multiple months as long as the school board approval, as detailed in school board minutes, itemizes the approval by event, total cost, and number of employees and school board members attending the event. General or blanket pre-approval for travel is not authorized. Approval shall be itemized by event, event total cost, and number of employees and school board members attending the event.

i.A board of education shall state in its policy that travel payments will be paid only upon compliance with this section and the school board's policy provisions and approval requirements. The policy shall state that the school board will not ratify or approve payments or reimbursements for travel after completion of the travel event.

j.An employee of the school board, a school board member, or organization, shall not receive an amount for travel and travel-related expenses in advance of the travel pursuant to N.J.S.18A:19-1 et seq.

k.A board of education shall require in its policy that a board member recuse himself from voting on travel if the board member, a member of his immediate family, or a business organization in which he has an interest, has a direct or indirect financial involvement that may reasonably be expected to impair his objectivity or independence of judgment.

l.A board of education shall require in its policy that a board member shall not: act in his official capacity in any matter in which he or a member of his immediate family has a personal involvement that is or creates some benefit to the school official or member of his immediate family; or undertake any employment or service, whether compensated or not, which may reasonably be expected to prejudice his independence of judgment in the execution of his official duties.

m.A board of education may, in its policy, exclude from the requirements of prior school board approval pursuant to subsection f. of this section any travel caused by or subject to contractual provisions, other statutory requirements, or federal regulatory requirements. The school board may not exclude such travel from the subsistence requirements pursuant to subsections n. and o. of this section and the annual maximum travel expenditure amount pursuant to subsection p. of this section.

n.A board of education shall provide in its policy that one-day trips that do not involve overnight lodging are not eligible for a subsistence payment or reimbursement except in limited circumstances authorized in Department of the Treasury guidelines.

o.A board of education shall provide in its policy that overnight travel is eligible for a subsistence payment or reimbursement as authorized in Department of the Treasury guidelines, except as otherwise superseded by the following:

(1)per diem payment or reimbursement for lodging and meals will be actual reasonable costs, not to exceed the federal per diem rates as established in the federal register for the current year;

(2)lodging expenses may exceed the federal per diem rates if the hotel is the site of the convention, conference, seminar or meeting and the going rate of the hotel is in excess of the federal per diem rates. If the hotel at the site of the convention, conference, seminar, or meeting is no longer available, lodging may be paid for similar accommodations at a rate not to exceed the hotel rate for the event;

(3)receipts are required for hotel expenses. Meal expenses under the federal per diem allowance limits do not require receipts;

(4)in any case in which the total per diem reimbursement is greater than the federal per diem rate, except as stated in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the costs will be considered to be excessive and shall not be paid by school district funds;

(5)school districts shall patronize hotels and motels that offer special rates to government employees unless alternative lodging offers greater cost benefits; and

(6)payment or reimbursement is approved for the full cost of an official convention meal that the employee or school board member attends, when the meal is scheduled as an integral part of the convention or conference proceedings. If a meal is included in the registration fee, the allowance for the meal is not eligible for reimbursement.

p.Annually in the prebudget year, each district board of education shall establish by school board resolution, a maximum travel expenditure amount for the budget year, which the school district shall not exceed in that budget year. The school board resolution shall also include the maximum amount established for the prebudget year and the amount spent to date.

(1)The maximum school district travel expenditure amount shall include all travel in accordance with this section supported by local and State funds.

(2)A district board of education may elect to exclude travel expenditures to be supported by federal funds in the maximum travel expenditure amount. If federal funds are excluded from the established maximum school district travel expenditure amount, the board of education shall include in the board resolution, the total amount of travel supported by federal funds from the prior year, prebudget year, and projected for the budget year.

q.Each district board of education shall maintain separate accounting for school district travel expenditures as necessary, to ensure compliance with the school district's maximum travel expenditure amount. This may include, but need not be limited to, a separate or offline accounting of such expenditures or expanding the school district's accounting system. The tracking system shall be sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the board's policy and this section, and shall provide auditable information.

r.Any district board of education that violates its established maximum travel expenditure as set forth in subsection p. of this section, or that otherwise is not in compliance with the travel limitations set forth in this section may be subject to sanctions by the commissioner as authorized pursuant to N.J.S.18A:4-23 and N.J.S.18A:4-24, including reduction of State aid in an amount equal to any excess expenditure.

s.A person who approves any travel in violation of the school district's policy or this section shall be required to reimburse the school district in an amount equal to three times the cost associated with attending the event.

An employee or member of the board of education who travels in violation of the school district's policy or this section shall be required to reimburse the school district in an amount equal to three times the cost associated with attending the event.

t.The provisions of this section shall apply to the boards of trustees and employees of charter schools.

L.2007, c.53, s.15.


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