Celebration of the "Buddhist" New Year varies by both geographic region and ethnicity in the predominantly Buddhist countries of Asia.
Buddhist New Year -
In Theravadin countries, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Lao, the new year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April. In Mahayana countries the new year starts on the first full moon day in January. However, the Buddhist New Year depends on the country of origin or ethnic background of the people. As for example, Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese celebrate late January or early February according to the lunar calendar, whilst the Tibetans usually celebrate about one month later.
Perhaps in New Jersey there is a sizable population of Chinese students who might be celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year and this was designated as an allowable "religious" day off as a practical matter? In any case, it seems to carry more ethnic significance than religious significance. (Can't imagine that ethnic Chinese students who are Christian, for example, would be any less interested in the celebrations! :)