New Jersey says 183 school board members received letters this past week they must vacate their posts for failing to submit to criminal background checks required under a new state law.

But the number who end up permanently giving up their positions may still drop.

State Education Department spokesman Justin Barra says the letters of ineligibility will be rescinded for anyone who cleared a background check before the letters went out. And he says members who clear background checks after getting the letter may still be reappointed by their county school superintendents.

In the meantime, superintendents are to begin appointing replacement board members.

School board members and charter school trustees had to complete the reviews by Dec. 31.

More than 4,500 background checks have been completed, with only 13 officials disqualified as a result.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)