Christie moves forward with superintendent's cap

The governor’s office today said that it will move forward with plans to cap superintendents’ salaries at a maximum of $175,000 a year. This would result in lowering salaries for many superintendents in Morris County. The cap would kick in when current contracts expire.

The administration hopes to accomplish this, not through legislation, but through the powers granted to the county superintendents of schools in previously-passed legislation. The county supers have the power to reject budgets and contracts. So, under the Christie cap plan, they will just be ordered to reject contracts  awarding salaries that exceed the cap.

Public hearings on this plan will take place beginning later this month; the closest one to Morris County will be at  6 pm Nov. 29 in Blairstown at the North Warren Regional High School auditorium.

About fsnowflack
Fred Snowflack was editorial page editor and a political columnist for the Daily Record of Morristown for almost 12 years. He has won numerous awards for editorial and column writing from the New Jersey Press Association and has written a blog on county and state politics for the last three years. He lives in Ledgewood in Morris County.

14 Responses to Christie moves forward with superintendent's cap

  1. Ted Doty says:

    Wow! I like the no new legislation approach. But I’d like to know how much Executive County Superintendent Dr. Kathleen C. Serafino earns. And what would force a county super to kick a district budget with a superintendent salary above $175K especially when there are grade school principals currently earning more than that?

  2. Tea Party voter says:

    no government should dictate salaries. It is just wrong that NJ governor gets to decide, what is next? We live in a democracy.Maybe limit should be $150,000

  3. P says:

    This is going to be a mess. And they won’t be ‘kicking” budgets back, just superintendent contracts that are higher than the mandated amount for the size of the district. As for the salaries of executive county superintendents, it’s actually below $150K, but most (or all) are retired superintendents, and a special state law allows them to collect their pensions AND their full salaries without penalty. Sweet!

  4. Bob Grant says:

    As the kids say, “OMG!” Tea Party voter look at what you have written. What do you think a board of education is, if not “Government?” Who sets the salaries for superintendents? Boards of education, that’s who. What is a Board of Education? It is government–elected government–just like the Governor only more frightening as they deal directly with the kids. Tea Party Voter, you have to stay after class and write the following 100 times on the “smart board” “I will not post silly things on Fred’s Blog.” Now go back to your seat.

  5. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain,I believe you are wrong, Rene Rovtar a one time County Superintendent is now superintendent at Long Hill. She’s 50ish and probably a ways from retirement.

    If anything you have it backwards. The county job is a place to look for district openings.

    And is there a source for your salary guesstimate or should we just believe an anonymous blogger?

  6. Tea Party voter says:

    Bob Grant

    you are correct and I am wrong

  7. Ted Doty says:

    And BTW Pbrain, the budgets will get kicked.

  8. P says:

    First, I found that the county superintendents make $120K – So the answer is no, I knew the number was low, but I had to find an authoritative source (something you should consider before you make your standard pronouncements).

    Second, Dr. Rovtar was a county superintendent BEFORE there were executive county supers. Because they changed the law to allow retired supers to keep collecting their pension whilst also collecting a paycheck (albeit a more modest one than they generally made in their last job), you will probably not find people going from county super to district super as you did in the past. And the latest super salary caps will increase the retiree pool very shortly.

    And no, they will kick back the contracts, not budgets. They only review budgets in March when they are submitted for review before the school baord elections in April.

    Super contracts can come in at any time, so that’s when they will exercise their authority. Here’s the proposed changes – Many references to Contracts, none to Budgets (except in the title – Fiscal Accountability, Efficiency and Budgeting Procedures).

  9. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, stop inventing arguments. I asked about compensation and apparently you don’t have an answer Exec Supers make $120k plus pensions so we still don’t know total cost to the taxpayer….unless you think pensions are irrelevant.


    “The proposed amendments will also allow a district board of education to enter into a contract with a superintendent that will reflect the needs and priorities of that school district.” PAGE 3, PARAGRAPH 3 SECOND SENTENCE

    It’s conceivable that a local BOE enters into a non conforming contract. County Supers DO NOT CONTROL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS.

    Pbrain. At that point, the Exec County Super has but one option. BOUNCE THE BUDGET WHEN PRESENTED.

    And BTW Pbrain, I think you’ll find that most superintendent contracts coincide with the school fiscal year. Although you’ll find a few partial year and per diem contracts in cases where districts have mid year vacancies.

  10. P says:

    First, you asked how much Kathleen Serafino “Earns,” and then you questioned my “Salary” guesstimate. Neither term covers “compensation,” just annual wages. So I’m not sure why you are now getting worked up about “compensation,” other than the fact that no one has that number.

    As for how the county executive superintendent will enforce the governor’s new salary rules, you’ve yet to provide language that says they can reject a district’s budget. I never said that the county super was involved in contract negotiations, just that she would either approve or reject a contract that a district wanted to sign.

    And plenty of contracts get negotiated or renegotiated outside a budget vote. Here’s one from today – On it’s face it makes no sense to say that the superintendent, who has to approve all administrative contracts, wouldn’t bounce one like this, but wait until March to reject the district’s budget. Think about it.

    Your “arguments” continue to be non-nonsensical, off point, and misrepresent what I’ve actually stated. Stick to fighting the “tin men” in RT.

  11. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, HOW MUCH DO TAXPAYER SPEND ON EXECUTIVE SUPERINTENDENTS, Kathleen Serafino or anyone. So far you’ve only provided half an answer. Nice attempt to hide your inadequate response however

    Local boards must prepare an itemized budget and submit the budget to the executive county superintendent of schools. (18A:7F-5 and 18A:7F-6) . The 2010 calendar mandated March 23. (Now March 4; changed pursuant to 18A:7F-5c).

    4 days prior to earliest public hearing date there must be a notice of public hearing. per 18A:22-10, 22-11, and 22-12.

    Pbrain I get the calendar every year. If you recall, the exec super bounced RTs budget and they had to cut state aid by $2,309,809.

    I guess you’d rather Google than pay attention to current events.

    Currently, the rules DO NOT require a county super to reject contracts. They quite specifically call for a review. and “allow a district board of education to enter into a contract with a superintendent that will reflect the needs and priorities of that school district.” PAGE 3, PARAGRAPH 3 SECOND SENTENCE of YOUR referenced link.

    Pbrain, learn to read and keep up with current events

  12. P says:

    This paragraph seems pretty clear to me, “N.J.A.C. 6A:23A sets forth, inter alia, the standards by which Executive County Superintendents shall review and approve the contracts of district superintendents. The proposed amendments will provide additional standards to be used by the Executive County Superintendents that shall limit the maximum annual salary of district superintendents. The proposed amendments will also provide for the Executive County Superintendents to review and approve the inclusion of certain salary increments and bonus provisions in the contracts of district superintendents.”

    I’m still waiting for you to provide the official language that says a county super can “reject” a budget because of a contract issue.

    As for compensation, I’ve given you what’s available. If it’s that important, you can figure out the rest. Not even sure why it’s relevant. Explain.

  13. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, the law is clearly cited…but I forgot, you can’t read. Oh well.

    Anyway if you attend what appears be the last BOE meeting in February for any district you will find that board submits its budget to the county super for approva.

    Don’t get to too many board meetings do ya Pbrainl

  14. P says:

    Some people simply cannot, or will not, learn.

    P.S. If you actually attended board meetings AND paid attention, or even read a newspaper, you’d know that in recent years, because governors have been releasing budget info later and later, the county doesn’t see a district’s budget until mid to late March.

    From last year’s NJ DOE Budget Calendar –

    Adoption and Filing of Budget */**/***
    Monday, March 22, 2010
    (March 4th each year; changed pursuant to 18A:7F-5c))
    Districts must prepare an itemized budget and submit the budget to the executive county superintendent of schools. (18A:7F-5 and 18A:7F-6)

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