Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf on Wednesday faced about 500 superintendents distressed about current and scheduled cuts to their salaries.
According to a report on northjersey.com, Cerf said he will "review" Governor Christie's 2010 mandate that has slashed top earners' salaries to that of his own, or less. The salary reduction, but grandfathered in most contracts finished before the ruling.
“I am not in a position to give you the change or the comfort you want. … This is something worthy of a look based on data,” Cerf told superintendents Wednesday in Jackson, according to the article.
the salaries of superintendents throughout the state is exorbitant – many over $220,000 annually – and irresponsible given the economic conditions in the state. His cuts bring figures down to a maximum of $175,000 with "merit" incentives attached, based on "performance".
Although school heads in Ridgewood and Glen Rock are safe from cuts in 2012, they and their respective districts will face tough decisions in the next two years.
The contract of Daniel Fishbein, Ridgewood's Superintendent of Schools, expires in June of 2013. Fishbein, a Ridgewood resident with five kids in the district, makes a base salary of $216,500 a year and would be taking a $41,000 paycut if he stayed in Ridgewood beyond 2013.
The local Board of Education . Ridgewood board member Sheila Brogan wrote a letter to the State Department of Education in December, calling Ridgewood's superintendent job one that's "not for the meek."
The letter noted the totality of Fishbein's responsibilities (overseeing an $89 million budget, 600 employees, 5,600+ students) and the possibility that he, like others, will leave for greener pastures if he's forced to take a paycut when his contract expires.
Administrators and several districts have complained Christie's superintendent pay cap will cause top talent to flee the state. They also argue the governor has no legal right to restrict what they pay administrators. About 30 percent of superintendents left their districts in 2010-2011, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association.
He may be right –James Montesano left as the superintendent of Paramus to lead Nyack, citing the cap. He's now collecting $235,000 a year. Had he stayed, it would have been about $60,000 less. Not long after, Montesano's brother Ray, the New Jersey superintendent of the year, said he's skipping out on Ramsey and fleeing to Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester County, NY at the end of the year.
Glen Rock's superintendent also hasn't been bashful about his feelings on the imposed cap. David Verducci, who makes a base salary of $225,000 and is under contract through summer of 2014, told The Glen Rock Gazzette in September of 2010 that the governor was being disrespectful toward top school administrators.
"We have hundreds of very talented people out there, and he's ridiculing those folks," he said. "He wants to cap their salaries, and he's marginalizing them in terms of the process."
Verducci was selected by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA) as the Superintendent of the Year in the North region in 2010. He would lose $50,000 annually were he to stay after 2014.