Saturday, March 27, 2010

NJ Bill Seeks to Cap Salary of Superintendents and Administrators- Kids First Offers $162,000 More Than Proposed Limit

Assemblyman Dave Rible introduced legislation Tuesday March 18, 2010 that would rein in so called "excessive" salaries paid to school administrators. The bill, A-2576 (see below), would limit the compensation of school district employees, other than teachers, to $5,000 less than the salary of the Commissioner of Education. Under the bill, school administrator salaries would be capped at $136,000 since the commissioner’s current salary is $141,000 annually. Citing information from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) which shows more than 725 school administrators making more than $141,000 annually, including nearly 60 school superintendents drawing annual salaries of $200,000 or more, Rible said, “Such exorbitant salaries are, in part, to blame for the high cost of property taxes associated with education in New Jersey and the state’s chronic budget deficits. We have to begin bringing costs down at all levels of government. With aid to schools accounting for nearly 20 percent of the state’s budget, a good place to start would be a cap on school administrator salaries.”

The political group Kids First, who holds the Board of Education majority in Hoboken, NJ, offered their selection for Superintendent a yearly salary of $190,000 for the 2010-2011 school year a month ago and defended it vigorously. The salary Kids First offered their choice for Superintendent exceeded the current proposed limits by $54,000 a year for each year of a 3 year agreement they approved...ultimately reaching an overage exceeding $162,000 from Rible's bill.

One way to address this bill is clearly to raise the salary of the Commissioner of Education (!). Another way is to have an open discussion about salary and compensation packages for educational administrators. Regardless, debate about A-2576 will surely be a contested issue over the next few months in Hoboken and the rest of New Jersey.

Picture: NJ Assemblyman Dave Rible