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1-14-13 Ridgewood Board of Education pro-active against superintendent salary cap
The Record - Ridgewood school board to take up resolution on superintendent salary cap

Star Ledger - Report: Ridgewood school board plans fight against superintendent salary caps "The Village Board of Education will ask the state to change the salary cap on superintendent salaries, Ridgewood Patch reported..."

The Record - Ridgewood school board to take up resolution on superintendent salary cap

 

MONDAY JANUARY 14, 2013, 6:13 PM BY  CHRIS HARRIS

 

RIDGEWOOD — A resolution aimed at helping school districts that struggle to retain superintendents under a salary cap imposed by Governor Christie in 2010 is expected to be taken up by the school board at its Jan. 28 meeting.

 

If adopted by Ridgewood, the resolution will be presented to the delegate assembly of the New Jersey School Board Association for consideration. If that group adopts the measure, it would become a top lobbying priority.

 

“The concern that I have is that the caps, in my opinion, restrict a board’s ability to attract and retain quality leadership for a school district,” said trustee Michele Lenhard, who will draft the resolution. “The School Board Association has no policy on [the salary cap] and they should be speaking out on issues like this... that impact boards of education. I believe this regulation puts us at a disadvantage in terms of attracting and keeping quality leadership.”

 

Lenhard said the resolution she is working on will call for the creation of a “waiver” that could be granted to school districts looking to give their superintendents a pay bump. This, she said, will prevent current administrators from seeking higher paying jobs “across the river” in New York.

 

At present, under Christie’s 2010 salary cap, superintendents in districts like Ridgewood, with 3,000 to 10,000 enrolled students, are not supposed to earn more than $170,000 a year.

 

“That salary is based on district enrollment only,” Lenhard said, adding that, should Superintendent Dan Fishbein decide to remain with the district after this current school year, he’ll be taking a more than $50,000 pay cut.

 

Fishbein, who has expressed an interest in remaining the district’s head, currently earns more than $220,000 a year, but would be paid $167,500 next year if he renews his contract this summer.

 

“There is no consideration given to the qualities of a candidate, their years of experience, their background,” Lenhard added. “There isn’t even room for cost of living increases.”

 

Governor Christie on Monday reacted to word of the draft resolution by reiterating his stance.

 

“The cap is the cap,” Christie said. “The fact is that it’s been operating just fine and the courts have upheld our right to do exactly what we’ve done.

 

Christie said he was aware “that in Ridgewood, they want to pay their superintendent more — I’m sorry,” adding that “everyone is being asked to make some sacrifice here. I think a lot of people in New Jersey think $165,000 is a perfectly acceptable salary to be superintendent.”

Christie acknowledged that “superintendent is a tough job, especially in a town like Ridgewood,” but said Fishbein makes “$50,000 more than I make and I think my job is pretty tough too. So, you know, I’m not looking for a raise and I think they can work at $165,000. I don’t think that should be a problem.”

 

Staff Writer Melissa Hayes contributed to this article. Email: harrisc@northjersey.com

 

 

Star Ledger - Report: Ridgewood school board plans fight against superintendent salary cap

By Myles Ma/NJ.comNJ.com
on January 14, 2013 at 7:10 AM, updated January 14, 2013 at 7:13 AM

RIDGEWOOD — The Village Board of Education will ask the state to change the salary cap on superintendent salaries, Ridgewood Patch reported.

Superintendent Daniel Fishbein's salary of $227,000 would be cut to $165,000 if he renews his contract this summer.

The school board plans to vote on a resolution to send the NJ School Boards Association, which advocates on behalf of boards across the state. If the association approves the resolution, its lobbyists will make opposing the salary cap a priority.

Almost half of the school districts in Bergen and Passaic counties have cut superintendent pay as a result of the cap. In most cases, younger candidates have replaced more experienced superintendents.

A state appeals court panel in October upheld Education Commissioner Chris Cerf's right to impose the salary cap. The state argued the cap helps rein in lavish superintendent contracts.

 


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