This appeal challenges the legality of a section in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) entered into between the Jersey City Board of Education and the Jersey City Education Association, Inc., which requires the Board to pay the salaries and benefits of two teachers who were selected by the members of the union to serve as "president and his/her designee," during the three-year term of the CBA, and to allow them to devote all of their work-time to the business and affairs of the union.
The Chancery Division, General Equity Part found this contractual arrangement did not violate Article VIII, § 3, ¶ 3 of the New Jersey Constitution, commonly referred to as the "gift clause." The court found the Board was authorized to enter into this arrangement with the union under N.J.S.A. 18A:30-7, which permits the payment of salary in cases of absence not constituting sick leave.
This court adheres to jurisprudential principles established by our Supreme Court and declines to reach the constitutional question raised by plaintiffs in this case because there are sufficient statutory grounds to definitively decide this appeal. In re Plan for the Abolition of the Council on Affordable Hous., 214 N.J. 444, 461 (2013). This court holds that in adopting N.J.S.A. 18A:30-7, the Legislature did not expressly or implicitly intend to authorize boards of education to enter into this type of contractual arrangement. The disbursement of public funds pursuant to this contractual arrangement was an ultra vires act by the Board.