New Jersey considers statewide policy against nepotism in schools

Garden State lawmakers already are prohibited from hiring relatives.

Trenton state Capitol building. (WHYY file photo)

Trenton state Capitol building. (WHYY file photo)

Legislation that won unanimous approval in the New Jersey Assembly would extend anti-nepotism rules to the state’s public and charter schools.

Taxpayers deserve every assurance that the people charged with educating their children attained their positions because of what they know, not who they know, said Assemblyman Paul Moriarty.

“Any time you have any level of government hiring family and friends, you’re not going through a process where you’re trying to get the best and brightest,” said Moriarty, D-Gloucester. “There are a lot of qualified individuals that may not even be considered for a job because someone wants to give it to their family or friends.”

State lawmakers are prohibited from hiring relatives — and the education system should also be protected against nepotism, said Assemblyman Ralph Caputo.

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“If you eliminate that, you give people an opportunity that have earned their degrees and have expertise, they should have an opportunity to come in and to work in our school system,” said Caputo, D-Essex. “Right now, I think a lot of districts have that policy. This just codifies that policy statewide.”

The state Senate hasn’t considered the legislation. If it becomes law, schools that don’t implement a policy against nepotism would be denied state aid.

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