|Salary Caps--Ridgewood Letter to Commissioner 1-17|
January 3, 2017
Kimberley Harrington, Acting Commissioner New Jersey Department of Education
100 River View Plaza
P.O. Box 500 Trenton, NJ 08625
Dear Commissioner Harrington:
The Ridgewood Board of Education voiced opposition to the superintendent salary caps when first proposed by Governor Christie in 2010. For the last six years, we have continued to object to the salary caps noting the flawed premise that the savings from the superintendent's lower salary would provide significant tax relief to property owners.
From the onset, we noted concerns about the degenerative long-term impact on school district leadership, causing higher than average turnover in the superintendent positions. We spoke of our concern that superintendent salaries were lagging behind the salaries of assistant superintendents, business administrators, and principals and that incentives to take on the added responsibility of running a school district would be seen as unattractive to qualified administrators.
We declared that the regulations were unfair in eliminating year-to-year salary adjustments. We urged the legislators to restore the Board's ability to negotiate a reasonable salary commensurate with the experience and skill set of the superintendent candidate, knowing that the state had already imposed an administrative growth limitation within a budget that is restricted to a 2 percent increase on the property tax.
The fact that superintendents were singled out and the only group of public employees subject to a salary cap made these regulations even more outrageous and unfair.
We observed on multiple occasions and again recently, Governor Christie's efforts to provide his staff and other public employees' salary increases. In an interview on December 22, 2016 Governor Christie supported salary increases for NJ judges. We agree and we also believe that our school superintendents should be fairly compensated and eligible for annual cost of living adjustments.
We urge that the superintendent salary cap regulations be eliminated for the following reasons:
Thank you for considering our request to eliminate the superintendent salary caps. The suggested new regulations on the superintendent salary caps do not further either the education of our students or the efficient and effective operation of New Jersey's school districts. After six years, the salary caps have only resulted in a negative situation that harms New Jersey's school districts.