In this appeal the court interprets two statutes concerning the right of Camden citizens to vote on the classification of their school district. That vote will determine whether members of the Camden City Board of Education (Board) are elected or appointed by the mayor. Plaintiffs contend that a vote on that issue was required in April 2014, under a 2010 amendment to the Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act (MRERA), N.J.S.A. 52:27BBB-63.1(c). Defendants counter that because the school district was placed into full State intervention in 2013, the classification vote is not required until the district satisfies certain performance indicators under the Quality Single Accountability Continuum Act (QSAC), N.J.S.A. 18A:7A-49(e). MRERA and QSAC contain provisions that set forth different frameworks for school district classification votes.
The court holds that the 2010 amendment to MRERA governs because its language is clear in granting Camden citizens the right to a school district classification vote, and nothing in QSAC restricts that right. Granting Camden citizens the right to a school district classification vote does not interfere with the State's full intervention because the Board will continue to serve in an advisory role until the conditions of QSAC are satisfied. Accordingly, the trial court's August 15, 2016 order dismissing plaintiffs' complaint is reversed. The case is remanded with direction that the trial court conduct a hearing within thirty days to determine when the school district classification vote will be held.