10-25-12 Late Morning Breaking News - 'Court sides with state on salary cap case'
Politickernj-State Street Wire...TRENTON Ė The state appeals court has upheld the state Education Commissionerís ability to set caps on school superintendentsí salaries.

GSCS Note: Per our Note published in out 10-1-12 Emailnet..."There is no doubt that the salary caps have had a negative impact on the stability of public school leadership in New Jersey. The dramatic loss of chief school administrators has been recorded and reported accurately. GSCS observes this via its membership and board table. There is clear reason for concern, and the issue is not going to go away..."

By Bill Mooney | October 25th, 2012 - 10:29am

TRENTON Ė The state appeals court has upheld the state Education Commissionerís ability to set caps on school superintendentsí salaries.

The decision emanated from three lawsuits filed in Morris and Passaic counties arguing the salary cap authority exceeds Commissioner Christopher Cerfís authority and that the separation of powers clause of the Constitution was violated.

The court rejected those arguments involving school districts in Passaic City, the Chathams, and Long Hill Township.

Gov. Chris Christie had sought to put a lid on escalating salaries of superintendents, an area he said has gotten out of control.

At issue is the Commissioner's implementation of amended regulations capping superintendents' salaries based on enrollment, the court stated.

On Nov. 1, 2010, the Commissioner proposed amendments setting a "maximum salary amount" and defining the term with a schedule of salary caps based on enrollment, the court stated.

When the Commissioner proposed the amendments, each of the superintendents in question was serving under a contract that was to expire on June 30, 2011, according to the court.

In each instance, the base salary for the term commencing July 1, 2011 in the proposed contract was higher than the per pupil cap for that school district as stated in the Commissioner's proposed amendment to the regulations, the court found.

According to the courtís synopsis of events, the negotiated base salary for Passaic Superintendent Robert Holster was $218,762.73, and the proposed cap for his district was $177,500.

For Rene Rovtar, in Long Hill, the negotiated base salary was $155,000, which is $10,000 more than the proposed cap for her district.

For James O'Neill, in the Chathams, the negotiated salary was $217,213, but his district's cap was $165,000, the court stated.

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