QOD: NJ’s Expensive Superintendent Salary Caps

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Lisa Wolff, President of the Hopewell Valley Regional School Board (Mercer County) explains how NJ’s “misguided” superintendent salary caps, intended to reduce school costs, actually end up costing  taxpayers more by triggering premature pension payments. Decreeing a superintendent salary cap is easy. Getting the Legislature to reform NJ’s profligate pension system is hard. Wolff suggests that Gov. Christie, in mandating the caps, took the easy way out.

This month, the beloved superintendent of the Princeton School District gave notice. Had this 2005 Superintendent of the Year not retired, the cap would have forced her $225,000 salary to be cut by $50,000. So, “with a heavy heart and very mixed emotions,” she announced her retirement. At age 56, she will now collect a pension of almost $144,000 annually for life. 

Consequently, when the state attempted to reduce the superintendent’s salary by $50,000, they instead triggered a $144,000 annual payout for which the district gets nothing in return. The school district will still need to pay her replacement a comfortable six-digit salary. This instance alone leaves taxpayers holding the bag for an additional one-quarter of a million dollars over the three years until the cap is set to expire. 

The increase in taxpayer costs runs contrary to the $9.8 million savings promoted by the governor.

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3 Comments

  • kallikak, April 26, 2013 @ 2:54 pm Reply

    You left out the part where the just-retired super comes back as an $800-per-day double-dipper while collecting her pension.

    As the Governor once said about his own academic career, “I wasn't that good at math.”

  • kallikak, April 26, 2013 @ 3:08 pm Reply

    P.S. Ms. Wolff left out the part where the super's replacement is given “merit goals” whose achievement can trigger annual payments of up to 15% above the (now seemingly leaky) salary cap.

    Yep, the Governor is a real problem solver.

  • NJ Left Behind, April 28, 2013 @ 2:31 pm Reply

    I know, Kallikak. I couldn't reproduce the whole editorial, but I agree with you.

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