Governor Christie’s Education Reform Agenda Keeps Money in the Classroom Where It Belongs

Christie Administration Cap On Superintendent Pay Means Real Savings For Taxpayers

Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie and acting Education Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks have taken action to finally control the costs of superintendent salaries in a realistic way, free up precious resources to put back into the classroom, and provide for additional compensation based on performance.  
 
The Christie Administration’s new salary caps will have a real impact by reducing and permanently capping the pay of more than 360 school superintendents after their current contracts expire, resulting in savings of nearly $10 million.
 
Currently, about 80 school superintendents are making more than $200,000. And it’s getting worse. The median pay for superintendents has risen more than 46 percent since 2001. That’s even higher than the increase in teachers’ salaries during the same period of time, and it’s more than twice the rate of inflation. In these hard economic times, superintendent salaries in New Jersey are costing taxpayers more than $100 million per year.
 
New Jerseyans are required to devote limited tax dollars to administrator salaries, even while no direct link exists between high pay for superintendents and high test scores for students. Still, there are districts where superintendents are paid more than $200,000 to supervise only a few hundred children.  And some districts, like Parsippany and Westfield, are even attempting to circumvent the caps by pursuing contract extensions to lock in these expensive superintendent contracts and reject the savings it would bring to taxpayers for years.  The Executive County Superintendents of Morris and Union counties respectively have directed the Parsippany and Westfield Boards of Education to rescind those unapproved contract extensions.
 
Governor Christie and acting Commissioner Hendricks are saying no and working with county executive superintendents to stop these abuses that come at the expense of New Jersey children and restoring fiscal sanity by bringing school superintendents’ salaries under control. Acting Commissioner Hendricks has directed the Executive County Superintendents not to approve any contract extensions for superintendents whose current contracts expire after February 7, 2011 unless they are consistent with the salary cap that will take effect on that date. 

 

FACTS ABOUT CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION CAP ON SUPERINTENDENT SALARIES

When caps take effect:  Feb. 7, 2011
 
Relief for towns where voters defeated school budgets: In Elizabeth, Cherry Hill, Madison, Hillsdale, Kinnelon, Sparta and Shore Regional – all districts where taxpayers defeated the school budgets – the pay caps will cut superintendents’ salaries by more than $60,000 when their contracts expire.
 
How pay caps are structured:
The chart below shows enrollment, what the cap would be, and the median base salaries currently earned by superintendents in districts. In smaller districts, some superintendents will have room for  raises. In most other districts, pay would be reduced, with the opportunity to earn additional, non-pensionable compensation through performance bonuses.  Sky-high salaries with automatic pay increases will no longer be permitted in most districts.

 

Student enrollment of district

Proposed cap

Median base salary

0 - 250                                                 

$125,000

 $120,565

251-750

$135,000

 $142,224

751-1,500

$145,000

 $159,755

1,501-3,000

$155,000

 $175,920

3,001-6,500

$165,000

 $185,690

6,501-10,000

$175,000

 $205,577

10,000+

$175,000*

 $216,882

 * These districts may apply to the Commissioner for a waiver of the cap
 
Examples of how pay caps will save taxpayers money:

Ø  South Hackensack (237 students). 
 Superintendent: William DeFabris
 Current salary: $240,158.
 Capped salary: $125,000.
 Savings: $115,158.

 

Ø  Cherry Hill (11,340 students).
 Superintendent: David Campbell*
 Current salary: $287,101.
 Capped salary: $177,500.

 Savings: $109,601.

 

Ø  Long Branch: (5,110 students).
 Superintendent: Joseph Ferraina*
 Current salary: $251,888.
 Capped salary: $167,500.
 Savings:  $84,388.

 

Ø  Sparta (3,917 students). 
 Superintendent: J. Thomas Morton
 Current salary: $235,207.
 Capped salary: $167,500.
 Savings:  $67,707.

 

Ø  Bloomingdale. (605 students).
 Superintendent: Fredda Rosenberg* 
 Current salary: $191,008.
 Capped salary:  135,000.
 Savings: $56,008.

 

Ø  Chatham (3,900 students)
 Superintendent: James O’Neill
 Current salary: $210,544
 Capped salary: $167,500
 Savings: $43,044

*Retiring at end of current academic year. Enrollment data based on Oct. 15, 2009 student population count provided by districts. Salary information provided by Executive County Superintendents.
 
$9.8 million in potential savings: 70 percent of superintendents currently earn above the proposed salary cap, costing school districts a total of about $9.8 million.

 

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Press Contact:
Michael Drewniak
Kevin Roberts
609-777-2600

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