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Paterson settles case with teacher terminated for living outside of New Jersey, allowing her to resign and retire

School officials have agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a teacher terminated for living outside of New Jersey.

Barbara Blakeslee, an eighth-grade teacher at School 8, accused the Board of Education of terminating her before she could secure a residency waiver.

Under the settlement agreement, Blakeslee’s employment is reinstated. However, she has to “expeditiously” file for retirement no later than November 1. She also has to submit a letter of “voluntary” resignation. She has to acknowledge in her resignation letter that she is resigning because she moved out of New Jersey and resides in Pennsylvania.

New Jersey First Act requires most public employees to reside in the Garden State. Blakeslee had lived in New Jersey since birth. Her husband had to move to Pennsylvania to look after his ailing mother. She and her children later joined the husband and the ailing mother in Pennsylvania.

Blakeslee sought an exemption under the New Jersey First Act from the Employee Residency Review Committee. Her application was not placed in the July or August meeting agendas because of Covid-19.

She will receive prorated salary for September, according to the settlement agreement. Her salary was $93,647 in 2019. She had taught in Paterson 16 years.

School board members approved the settlement agreement last Wednesday.

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