NJ Spotlight reports today that the NJ Association of School Administrators haven’t given up on its quest to get the State to wedge the no-twist cap off superintendent salary increases.
Two years ago, the DOE issued regulations (a new hobby for the department these days) that capped salaries for NJ’s superintendents at between $125K and $175K (Christie’s salary), depending on the size of the district. (Large urban Abbotts have a little more leeway.) Now NJASA will see if the third time’s the charm as it once more heads for the Courts, this time the Supremes. Spotlight forecasts the odds as long for success in overturning the cap, although the new regulation has led to higher mobility among superintendents and a migratory trend towards New York and Pennsylvania, cap-free states.
(Side story: Some districts went down fighting. In Parsippany-Troy Hills School District, Superintendent LeRoy Seitz made a whopping $220K per year, and a five-year contract dictated eventual pay-out of $234,065. Despite a litany of threats, his devoted Board went to the mat to prevent a mandated cut to a measly $177.5K, even paying lawyers $15K to defend its generosity and independent thinking. The DOE (and the Bergen Executive County Superintendent) held firm. Parsippany-Troy Hills backed off and is now suing Seitz for back pay. Seitz still works in the district at the lower salary.)
In addition to this increasing transience of superintendents, another problem, the salary cap has generated a new problem for districts: the salaries of other top administrators, including principals, are starting to bump up against the cast-in-stone-and-non-union-negotiated salaries of superintendents. Is the DOE’s intention that districts independently cap these other administrators? Everyone’s wondering if we’ll see an uptick in the cap or if this is simply a long-term strategy to lower administrative costs from superintendent on down.