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1-24-12 Education Issues in the News
Newjerseynewsroom.com - Bill to create N.J. teacher loan forgiveness program clears Senate committee

NJ Spotlight - NJ Loses Superintendent of Year to NY…Cap on pay has superintendents considering their options -- and sometimes moving on..."A month after being honored on the floor of the state Senate, New Jersey’s school superintendent of the year is headed to New York, another consequence of the Christie administration’s cap on school administration salaries...He’s not the only superintendent to depart. Montesano’s brother Jim also left New Jersey schools, where he was last the superintendent in Paramus, to become superintendent in Nyack, N.Y. And New Jersey superintendents are retiring or leaving the state at nearly double the rate since the caps were put in place at the start of last year. “I’m sure there will be more of us,” Montesano said..."

Newjerseynewsroom.com - Bill to create N.J. teacher loan forgiveness program clears Senate committee

 

NJ Spotlight - NJ Loses Superintendent of Year to NY…Cap on pay has superintendents considering their options -- and sometimes moving on..."A month after being honored on the floor of the state Senate, New Jersey’s school superintendent of the year is headed to New York, another consequence of the Christie administration’s cap on school administration salaries...He’s not the only superintendent to depart. Montesano’s brother Jim also left New Jersey schools, where he was last the superintendent in Paramus, to become superintendent in Nyack, N.Y. And New Jersey superintendents are retiring or leaving the state at nearly double the rate since the caps were put in place at the start of last year. “I’m sure there will be more of us,” Montesano said..."

 

Newjerseynewsroom.com - Bill to create N.J. teacher loan forgiveness program clears Senate committee

Monday, 23 January 2012 17:50

Legislation designed to establish a loan redemption program under which teachers could have a portion of their undergraduate loans forgiven by the state in exchange for work at a school in New Jersey was approved Monday by the state Senate Education Committee.

The bill (S-543) would create the New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) Teacher Loan Redemption Program in the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. The program would allow loan recipients to redeem 10 percent of their NJCLASS loan amounts for each year of service as a teacher in a school in New Jersey.

“Tasked with preparing the next generation of scientists, nurses and community leaders of our state, teachers have what is arguably the most difficult job there is,” Sen. Nia Gil (D-Essex), a co-sponsor, said. “But to become teachers, many of these individuals are forced to take on massive amounts of debt that will take years to pay off. We have to do everything we possibly can to attract and retain excellent teachers. A loan forgiveness program will serve as an incentive for our best and brightest to stay here after college and to choose a New Jersey school to start their careers.”

“This program will allow us to better support the teaching profession by helping to alleviate the financial burden of loans on those who have committed their lives to educating our children,” Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), the other co-sponsor, said. “It will also send a message to teachers that we recognize the tremendous responsibility they are given as educators and are grateful for their hard work.”

The measure was approved by a vote of 3-1-1. The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.

—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

 

NJ Spotlight - NJ Loses Superintendent of Year to NY…Cap on pay has superintendents considering their options -- and sometimes moving on

By John Mooney, January 24, 2012 in Education|

A month after being honored on the floor of the state Senate, New Jersey’s school superintendent of the year is headed to New York, another consequence of the Christie administration’s cap on school administration salaries.

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Roy Montesano, the superintendent of Ramsey schools, was expected to be formally approved last night as the next superintendent in Hastings, NY, right over the Tappan Zee Bridge. The district put out a release last week announcing the hire.

Montesano, a 30-plus year educator in New Jersey schools, yesterday was careful to say the caps didn’t force him over the border, but he said they were certainly a factor in his decision to leave the state.

“With what is coming out of Trenton, it is forcing some of us to consider other options,” Montesano said in an interview. “It has opened us up to other opportunities.”

In Hastings, he will earn $235,000, according to the New York district. In Ramsey, Montesano now makes $226,000, he said, but under the new salary caps, that would have gone down to $167,500 when his current contract expires in two years.

Montesano, part of a family of four brothers who were each New Jersey superintendents, said the prospect of a 30-percent pay cut with a child off to college was difficult to manage. “The math doesn’t add up well,” he said.

He’s not the only superintendent to depart. Montesano’s brother Jim also left New Jersey schools, where he was last the superintendent in Paramus, to become superintendent in Nyack, N.Y. And New Jersey superintendents are retiring or leaving the state at nearly double the rate since the caps were put in place at the start of last year. “I’m sure there will be more of us,” Montesano said.

Christie and state officials have said that is not a bad thing, controlling administrative costs that some said were getting out of control and bringing in new people with fresh ideas to school leadership.

The caps, imposed through regulation and without legislative approval, set salaries for top school officials depending on the size of the district. The top scale for those in districts with between 5,000-10,000 students is $175,000, the governor’s salary, and the number goes down to as low as $135,000 for the smallest districts. The dozen very largest districts like Newark, Paterson, and Jersey City are the only ones that can exceed the caps, but only with the commissioner’s approval.

Ramsey has a little more than 3,000 students, where the top pay once Montesano’s contract expired would be $165,000, plus $2,500 for districts with high schools. Under the caps, superintendents are also entitled to performance bonuses of up to 15 percent, but those do not apply toward their pensions.

Since even before they were put in place, the caps have been challenged in court in a smattering of cases, all still winding their way through the process. A challenge by the association that represents the state superintendents, for instance, is not yet scheduled for arguments in the NJ appellate court.

“It is still hanging out there, and it may be for a while,” said Richard Bozza, the association’s executive director. “I’m hoping we can move this along.”

Bozza pointed out that an appeal in the association’s challenge of previous limitations on administrative compensation, enacted by former Gov. Jon Corzine, was only heard by the state Supreme Court last week.

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828