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Verducci, Fishbein Would Lose Big Staying in NJ [Poll]

Governor Christie's superintendent salary caps would cut the salaries of Ridgewood and Glen Rock's superintendents by $41K, $50K, respectively; do you think Christie's cap on superintendent pay is a wise move?

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.

Fishbein told The Ridgewood News in 2010 that he expected some of the top talent will depart for places like New York and Connecticut.

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.

JV March 02, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Your taxes aren't going down. What will go down is the quality of your children's - everyone's children's - education. To apply your seeming logic, if you don't like what it costs to live here, then why not leave for a place where you can do better? I don't seriously believe that you, or anyone, should have to do such a thing, but how is it any different from what you are suggesting? Why should people who are willing to pay for something be limited in their choice? It makes no sense. One cannot continue to demand excellent results in schools when we create a system of enforced limitations and mediocrity. This is a mistake that is remarkable for the number of people who have succumbed to the ignorant pandering of politicians who will not be as affected as most of the "common" folk. Cottage Place is not the fortress you seem to suggest. It would be great if people would get over their nonsensical, incorrect opinion on that score. It is just not true. And if you really want to effect change and have more ideas and less bodies there, perhaps you should run for office or get more visibly and productively involved. Complaining is easy, and I support anyone's right to do so, but after a while, it becomes time to try to make the changes we think are necessary, or it's time to get over it and move on. Learn what other districts do and you might be shocked at how truly superior Ridgewood and Glen Rock are.They won't be once these restrictions take effect. How sad.
delgado March 02, 2012 at 12:57 AM
funny how the Republican County Adminstrator can make $193,000, the GOP County Executive can make $218,000, the Republican Sheriff at $280,000 and the head of the Sports Authority at $225,000 and worse the BCIA head at $193,000, but PHd educators w/ 30 years experience cant make more than $175,000. It pays to be a Bergen Republican.
Fan of Ridgewood March 02, 2012 at 02:16 PM
JV - im not sure, one way or another whether superintendent's salaries should be reduced. But government shouldnt tell me how to live because it doesnt pay me to do so. Quite the other way around. However, government does pay educators, so i think it (as representatives of taxpayers) does have the right to say how much they make. And from what i have read, there is not a direct correlation between salaries of educators and the achievements of students.
Donna March 13, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I love being confident that my children are receiving an excellent education in this town. As we know budgetary restrictions, staff outsourcing and high unemployment rates nationwide make the delicate balance between cost and quality of services both necessary and perplexing. I don’t believe the quality of education in this town will necessarily decline under the leadership of a lesser-paid Superintendent. I think the Superintendent did a great job and am happy to hear that he’s not leaving because of the salary cap. Because the government pays our teachers, I do see the validity of looking at Superintendents’ salaries across the state, just like I want government to look at the problem of property taxes. By the way, the published Superintendent salaries reflect base salaries, not the bonuses or additional incentives. The government raises my property taxes every year without my say and especially when I improve my property. My friends and neighbors across town are concerned that they may be taxed out of the town eventually because of staggering property taxes that will only increase. Not only is this a shame for people already paying hugely high taxes, but it’s a shame for a town that will no doubt become a transient town—one which will see families flee after their children are educated here. I don’t know how much a Superintendent should be paid, but I do not believe that this single amount can topple the amazing educational system offered in our town.
kay smith March 14, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Touche! I second the motion..

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