School board philosophy …

Here is a quote we saw from Lee Seitz, the superintendent of schools in Parsippany. (It comes courtesy of Parsippany/Patch).

The scene was a touchy-feely board meeting about working together better. Seitz was quoted as describing the following as a problem:

“It’s when the majority of the board is not honored and recognized by all board members.”

Now, those few words say a lot. They sum up the school board mantra that all must speak with one voice and that when the board majority decides on something, all must get on board. Everybody recognizes the majority of the board. Given the fact it has to do with simple math, how can you not recognize it?  But it is wrong to expect the board majority not to be questioned or disagreed with.


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.

97 Responses to School board philosophy …

  1. Ted Doty says:

    Well, you really can’t blame a superintendent for wanting a unified voice for all decisions. The problem is board members obey the superintendent’s desire rather than remain accountable to those who elected them.

    Over ten years ago, Fred asked me why independent thinking board candidates knuckle under to the will of the superintendent. Well I didn’t have a good answer then and perhaps I still don’t but I think it has something to do with the we’re trained. “Never question authority”.

    Well, I’m a Catholic school educated baby boomer brought up during Vatican II when questioning was not only okay, it was encouraged. Oh how I long for those good old days.

  2. P says:

    School boards are not supposed to be like legislative bodies, with partisan hacks trying to score points for their cause. A school board, like a Board of Directors, should be comprised of individuals all trying to work together to move their school district in a positive direction.

    They hire, or retain, a superintendent, because they believe in that person’s educational leadership. If they don’t believe in the person they hired to lead the district, they should be getting rid of him/her. If they do, they should be supporting that person.

    Ted – Still TMI.

  3. Ted Doty says:

    Actually, the state legislature has the job administrating the public education system. In their infinite wisdom the legislature delegated responsibility for educational content and limited other issues to local districts. BOEs are indeed an extension of the state legislature and should act as such

  4. P says:

    Which means . . . ?

  5. Ted Doty says:

    Besides a reading problem, you seem to suffer short term memory loss. In Post #2 you proclaimed “School boards are not supposed to be like legislative bodies”

    Since they are extensions of the legislature, they are beholden to to their constituents

  6. P says:

    They may have been created by the Legislature, but they are actually an extension of the NJ DOE.

    I never said they weren’t responsible to their constituents (and every three years their constituents get to pass judgment on their work), but that isn’t the same thing as being “beholden.”

    And they aren’t supposed to work as a legislative body, as I’ve noted before, but you seem to not understand. Maybe that’s why you weren’t all that successful as a member of the RTBOE.

  7. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, BOEs are an extension of the legislature with limited powers. Every new Board member is provided a hand book from the NJSBA with that information but as you can tell, few read it. And you also seem unaware.

    And BTW the DOE was also created by the legislature.

  8. P says:

    You can keep saying the same line over and over and over . . . but it doesn’t make it a FACT.

    The DOE and BOEs are not “extensions” of the Legislature. They fall under the Executive branch (note that the governor appoints the heads of both the DOE and all the county executive superintendents, and they maintain oversight of local BOEs as witnessed by the Seitz fiasco).

    I believe it’s time for Ted to take another refresher class on Civics and once again proof that you need to double check all of Teddy Doty’s work.

  9. P says:

    P.S. Here’s a link to the doc you referred to (thank you Glen Rock BOE for posting it online) –

    and this is the section on the BOE –

    The Board Member as Representative

    School board members are state officials, empowered by state law to govern the public schools at a local level. They are representatives of their community with oversight authority derived from the New Jersey Constitution and the legislature. The laws, rules and regulations governing public schools pass through the legislature to the State Board of Education. The State Board’s staff, the Department of Education, has the authority to carry out the mandates created by those higher bodies. The board of education develops policies that govern school operation in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.

    The role of a board of education is to see that the school district is well run. The written policies of the board provide guidance and direction to the chief school administrator for making decisions and taking action. Well crafted policies minimize ambiguity between the board and its chief school administrator and promote the smooth operation of the school system.

    Board members have no legal authority except when sitting with other board members in a legally constituted meeting. An individual board member cannot make decisions for the board, take action for the board or speak for the board unless the board has authorized them to do so.

    Likewise, concerns of individuals in the community which are brought to the attention of a board member cannot be acted upon by that board member, but are referred through established channels, to the appropriate school staff, principal or the chief school administrator. When the chain-of-command is used properly by citizens and board members, communications are improved and the board of education can act as final arbiter on issues which have not been resolved at other steps in the chain.

    Above all, board members are responsible for and to the district’s students. Every policy they approve and every action they take must be based on what is best for the education of those students.

  10. Ted Doty says:

    Tittle 18 was enacted by the NJ state legislature and I believe it’s patterned by Federal statute. In my civics class we learned the legislature is the legislative branch of government.

    Perhaps you need a refresher course

  11. P says:

    More double talk from Teddy, “In my civics class we learned the legislature is the legislative branch of government.” I guess it was the only thing you remembered.

    But, of course, it doesn’t address the topic, which is – Under which branch of government does a local BOE operate, as an “extension of the State Legislature,” as Teddy asserts, or, as part of the Executive, which state law clearly states –

    18A:4-1. State department of education continued; composition
    The state department of education is hereby continued as a principal department in the executive branch of the state government, and it shall consist of a state board of education, which shall be the head of the department, a commissioner of education, and such divisions, bureaus, branches, committees, officers and employees as are specifically referred to in this title and as may be constituted or employed by virtue of the authority conferred by this title and by any other law.

    18A:4-10. General supervision of public education except higher education vested in state board
    The general supervision and control of public education in this state, except higher education, and of the state department of education shall be vested in the state board, which shall formulate plans and make recommendations for the unified, continuous and efficient development of public education, other than higher education, of people of all ages within the state.

    18A:4-23. Supervision of schools; enforcement of rules
    The commissioner shall have supervision of all schools of the state receiving support or aid from state appropriations, except institutions of higher education, and he shall enforce all rules prescribed by the state board.

    Next time you reference state law, it might help if you read said state law rather than pretend that just because you cited it, it must support you position.

    Ted’s Report Card – Fall 2010

    Civics – F
    Ed Law – F

  12. Ted Doty says:

    Under which branch BOEs operate was not the question until Pbrain attempted to change the issue.

    Focus Pbrain focus

  13. P says:

    Wrong, it became an issue when you stated, “Actually, the state legislature has the job administrating the public education system,” as a counter to my well written explanation of what a school board is and how it should function (original statement copied below). From that point forward you just refused to admit that you were talking out of your butt (DotySOP). Sorry to be so blunt and graphic, but, Mr. KnowItAll loves to refute almost everything I post, but he insists on doing it with completely bogus info.

    School boards are not supposed to be like legislative bodies, with partisan hacks trying to score points for their cause. A school board, like a Board of Directors, should be comprised of individuals all trying to work together to move their school district in a positive direction.

    They hire, or retain, a superintendent, because they believe in that person’s educational leadership. If they don’t believe in the person they hired to lead the district, they should be getting rid of him/her. If they do, they should be supporting that person.

  14. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, you argue far to create arguments that you think you can win but never do.

    The issue I raised the reasons for a BOE’s misguided group think. There’s no cause to argue the point so as usual you invent something and post senseless blather in that “if you can’t dazzle the, baffle them” manner.

    Pbrain, try to read, comprehend and focus on the issues at hand.

  15. P says:

    This is Ted’s version of waving the White Flag.

    As I originally noted, a BOE is supposed to act like a Board of Directors, not a Legislative body. It is meant to work together to support the educational mission of the district. But it doesn’t have to always be of one mind, and I doubt any BOE in this state is. Just because no one would listen to Teddy when he was on the RTBOE doesn’t mean that it’s “groupthink.” Maybe it was, “why do we have to listen to the crazy man all the time-think.”

  16. Ted Doty says:

    No Pbrain, what I said quite clearly is that you’ve nothing to argue. Also I quite clearly said a BOE is an extension of the legislature with limited power.

    You just like to twist meanings and somehow think think you offered some great insight.

    My observation of BOE philosophy is based on board experience and over a decade of close observation . They are indeed an extension of the legislature with taxing authority, authority over the voting process, authority over what is taught in schools etc.

    The State Legislature created and is responsible to the public for the school system and for providing through and efficient education. You provide nothing but blather regarding the legislature’s delegation of authority. But Pbrain authority is by no means responsibility.

    ?You blather about how the legislature delegates authority

  17. P says:

    Ted – STOP. A BOE is NOT, I Repeat NOT, an “extension” of the Legislature. It falls under the State DOE, and both are part of the Executive Branch (see clear language on this – above). And as you know from your Civics class, under the Separation of Powers, you can’t work for both. There’s nothing twisted here except your “Logic.”

    As for the famous line in our Constitution, it doesn’t say “through and efficient education,” that was the twisted logic used by our Supreme Court to hijack the distribution of the state Income Tax, and why we here in the ‘burbs are getting screwed royally.
    From the NJ Constittution –


    1. The Legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State between the ages of five and eighteen years.

    The Supreme also nullified the age range, it’s now 3 – 21 for a whole range of children.

    P.S. The phrase, “Provide for,” just means that they have to ensure that there is oversight (State DOE) and resources (i.e., MONEY) for a Free Public Education for all who wish to avail themselves of one. They also “provide for” a lot of other things, but that doesn’t mean they run them. In fact, the only thing the Legislative Branch runs (besides their mouths) are their own offices.

    Rather than give us your anecdotal evidence, why not provide specific language from either the state constitution or statute that backs up your assertion . . or . . is it time to revert to the old “Pbrain attempted to change the issue,” rant?

    You truly are a CLUELESS humanoid.

  18. Ted Doty says:

    Responsibility and authority are two different issues. You’re talking about organization charts. I’m talking actual practice.

  19. P says:

    You are making things up to try to buttress your erroneous position.

    Local BOEs are extensions of the State BOE, which is part of the Executive branch. No matter how you try to pretend your little fantasy world is reality, you’ll still be wrong. PERIOD. Just stop digging that hole, China is just around the next bend.

    P.S. I’m talking about the State Constitution and State Law. Those are the only things that matter.

  20. Ted Doty says:

    I don’t make things up. You erroneously refer to organizational responsibility

  21. P says:

    Utterly HOPELESS.

  22. Ted Doty says:

    The hopeless issue is your lack of focus. You want to argue the fine pointsof organizational charts while the rest of the world is discussing actual operating procedure.

  23. P says:

    I guess you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks, or much of anything else.

  24. Ted Doty says:

    Hey, I taught you a few things but you won’t retain any of it

  25. P says:

    More Delusions of Grandeur. Life must be truly fantastic in TeddyLand.

  26. Ted Doty says:

    And your pontifications are?

  27. P says:

    Not Pontifications, just statements of Fact.

    I’ve provided specific references to state law. Other than opining about some alternate reality world where up is down and right is left, have you provided a scintilla of proof of anything you’ve stated above?

  28. Ted Doty says:

    You provide facts that have little bearing on the topic

  29. P says:

    I’ve provided the back-up to anything I claim as Fact. You’re “facts” are just misguided beliefs that you claim to “know,” but little proof is offered for anyone to check you assertions.

    As Fred would say, “anywho,” trying to educate Ted, or have a meaningful dialog, is a utter waste of time

  30. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, what’s the benefit or purpose of your organizational chart argument?

  31. P says:

    See previous answer on another Thread about BOGUS/LIES.

  32. Ted Doty says:

    I thought so Pbrain discuses organisational charts as if they directed actual procedure.

  33. P says:

    It’s the Law that counts, and that is clearly on my side. Not sure what you’re relying on except your fantastic imagination. You really need to change the title of your Blog to “The Morris County Fabulist.”

  34. Ted Doty says:

    So Pbrain, what effect does your legal, organizational chart argument have?

    We will still have superintendents of small districts earning more than the governor and exceeding the compensation for a private sector manager with equivalent responsibilities…all because chief administrators work together to inflate their pay rates

    Focus on the issue Pbrain not pseudo intellectual blather

  35. P says:

    Can you tell us where the cabal holds its meetings?

    And when did you document the fact that “superintendents of small districts (are) earning more than . . the compensation for a private sector manager with equivalent responsibilities?”

    Focus on REALITY TeddyBoy, not the fantasy world you live in where everything you say is “FACT.”

  36. Ted Doty says:

    It really doesn’t matter where they meet or how they communicate Pbrain. The more appropriate question is to you Pbrain. How can you believe there isn’t collaboration?

    On what basis would you would you equate responsibility…net assets, revenue, profitability, employees, sales????

    You see Pbrain, you fell into the trap. There is no equivalence. Supers don’t jump to private industry is because private industry requires high performance standards before awarding big salaries. Alternately, private industry does’t try to lure school chiefs.

  37. P says:

    It kinda does matter. If you’re going to claim a conspiracy (which you did), you need to offer some proof. The fact that their salaries are going up at a pretty good clip is just proof of the law of supply and demand (I think you’ve heard of that, since you have an MBA and all).

    As for private industry “requiring high performance standards before awarding high salaries,” just Google “Overpaid CEOs” and you’ll get a plethora of execs who are paid way more than they are worth. And I’m not talking $20 or 30K, I’m talking $10’s of millions!

    So find us a private sector person who is managing over 500 employees, a budget of over $100M, a dozen or so large buildings, and whatever you consider the equivalent of thousands of kids and their parents (very demanding customers?), and tell us their comp package.

  38. Ted Doty says:

    I never said conspiracy. That’s your word.

    Superintendent pay is far from a supply and demand issue. Candidates aren’t all that hard to find. They just won’t sign based on performance.

    And why are we now basing corporate salary level on your idea of what is overpaid? We’ve already established that private corporation executive pay is based on the entity’s own standard of what is fair.

    I guess you’d rather have then call and ask your opinion…don’t hold your breath.

  39. P says:

    “Collaboration,” is just a polite word for Conspiracy.

    If it isn’t hard to find good candidates, when candidate #1 won’t sign for a reasonable number, just move on to #2. Within no time a board should have a qualified individual at the price they want to pay. QED. Unless the talent pool isn’t as deep as Teddy believes.

    As for grafs 3 & 4, absolutely no idea what you are saying. I think you were hitting Fred’s eggnog too hard also.

  40. Ted Doty says:

    The Pbrain seems to have jumped from “school chiefs deserve private sector salaries” argument to “low supply and high demand dictates superintendent salaries”.

    Pbrain, the talent pool of for superintendents is quite large. Foe professional certification all that is required (since Sept.1992) is a masters degree emphasizing management, passage of a test in educational leadership, formal mentor evaluations or 5 years practical experience in another state. It’s a large pool that is easily expandable.

    Since we’ve already established the inability to compare corporate skills with school management and have now shown there’s a large supply of potential candidates, it’s quite evident that superintendents act as a bargaining unit to inflate salaries

  41. P says:

    You haven’t “shown” anything other than your ignorance of how the world works. You claimed that Supers belonged to a Union – They don’t. You claimed that there was “collaboration” and that it drove up the price – There isn’t, and even if there was, it couldn’t.

    As for the Private Sector, I simply noted that in places where people didn’t have tenure, civil service or a union protecting them (in the Public sector, only Supers seem to fall into this niche), the market sets the price for their talents. You’ve yet to explain otherwise except to hint that there’s a vast superintendent conspiracy stopping this from happening.

    Even today, if a district felt they had a cheaper alternative when the Super’s contract was up (and if, as you claim, there’s a ton of highly qualified people out there chomping at the bit, it would be happening hundreds of times a year), they could let him/her know they planned to non-renew, and shop the job.

    The fact that no one does it indicates that the BOE has determined that they are receiving value for their money. You can’t tell me that out of 600+ school districts (and thousands of BOE members) that everyone has drunk the same “Our Superintendent is a god Kool-Aid,” except you.

  42. P says:

    P.S. You still haven’t come up with a RATIONAL reason why the governor’s salary should be the top of the range. Why not the Commissioner of Education, or the County Executive Superintendent? All, in theory, are superior to a local superintendent.

  43. Ted Doty says:

    Now claim corporate CEO salaries and superintendent compensation should be equal because you don’t think supers belong to a union…or that the group doesn’t act like one because there isn’t a charter.

    P brain, again you miss the point. Boards don’t feel they have a less expensive alternative and yes 600 plus school boards have drunk the koolaid (as you put it).

    I never said anyone in the corporate world was chomping at the bit to become a superintendent, you did. I only said they’re available but no board seeks them because they drank the koolaid

  44. P says:

    Ted, you really need to learn how to read. Most of what you claim I said I didn’t. Go back and reread my post.

    And while you are doing that, ponder this question, which was posed by a writer in a letter to the editor – “The governor is adamant that no public employee should make more than he does. But an old friend of his, Bill Baroni, was named deputy director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at a yearly salary of $293,000. If you go to the Port Authority website and look at the 2009 budget (page 91), it lists the top 22 employee salaries. The top salary is $304,000 and the 22nd highest is $215,000.

    I assume there are many other individuals who are making more than the governor’s imposed salary cap of 175,000 for New Jersey superintendents. Why is this okay?”

    Deputy Director doesn’t sound like it has more responsibilities than Governor, does it? I guess the cap only holds for people who aren’t FOC.

  45. P says:

    P.S. Where’s the Governor on these types of sweetheart deals –

    $320K to “walk away,” plus a raise, with five years retro pay, to $190K . . isn’t that more than Christie makes? Where’s the famous DotyOutrage?

    P.P.S. If you search the Gannett DataUniverse, statewide, you’ll find at least 50 people in the police and fire pension system making over $170K per year. Some in places like “massive” Elmwood Park (pop. 19,000) making $200K. Note – They also have a Dep. Chief – $170K, two Captains – $160/155K; and ten other Lieutenants & Sergeants – $125 – 145K! All to patrol a town that’s about 2 sq. miles. Why no cap on these positions????

    P.P.P.S. Although the state has cracked down on nepotism in the schools, it looks like it’s ok for the police chief to have hired his son to serve on the force. Sweet!

  46. Ted Doty says:

    After losing the argument Pbrain thinks that quoting a misguided letter writer breathes life to his own thoughts. Pbrain, the letter you quote merely proves that you’re not the only fool in the state.

    Pbrain, Pbrain, Pbrain Stop trying to compare jobs and salaries that aren’t comparable.

  47. P says:

    Gee, and I thought the Christie/Doty standard was no public sector salaries above the governor’s. I guess that “standard” only applied to superintendents and heads of commissions that the governor didn’t appoint. And obviously, running a police department with about three dozen people is waaaaaaay more difficult than being governor, and easily justifies paying the chief $200,000 (and later on, a pension of over $150K for life).

    The truth of the matter is that if Christie wanted to drive towns to real cost savings, he’d be after all the one and two square mile towns in places like Bergen county to combine four to six police departments, at a minimum, into one serving the region. If you read the recent Star-Ledger expose on police salaries, you’d know that there’s a boatload of money to be saved on redundant chiefs, superior officers and patrolmen.

    Unfortunately, your HATRED of your local super has BLINDED you to LOGIC and clear THINKING.

  48. Ted Doty says:

    now Pbrain wants to divert the conversation to consolidation of services.

    Pbrain, you have enough problems trying to focus on one issue. Know you limitations

  49. P says:

    The Topic is, was, and always will be – Saving NJ’s Property Taxpayers Money.

    And you don’t have an answer as to why the cap applies to one set of public employees, but not all the others.

  50. Ted Doty says:

    As you know Pbrain. Education is a target because of its huge impact on state and local finances.

    If you understood why restrictions were placed on education and not all, why did you pursue your foolish argument?

    Really Pbrain you traveled quite a distance to make a point that the rest of us understood from the begining

  51. P says:

    You need to check your math, again. A superintendent’s compensation has virtually no impact on local taxpayers. In most cases their total comp is less that 1% of a school board’s budget, and less that .5% of the total tax levy for a town or municipality. So going after 10 – 20% of their pay is less than de minimis, and only “symbolic,” unless you plan to impose caps on all public employees.

    The real cost for tax payers is the number of employees (teachers, police, public works, etc.), their total comp and the rate of increase. Capping that cost, and requiring higher payments towards benefits, is where the real savings will be. And if you want to consolidate to save money, you’ll find that police departments will provide a much better bang for the buck that school districts.

  52. Ted Doty says:

    Superintendent compensation has DIRECT impact on local taxes. I think the point you were trying to make is that administrative costs have little impact on the tax rate.

    Now the point you ignore is hat the superintendent’s compensation sets the tone for the district. For example in RT, he BA and two building principles exceed the cap to be put in place in February. the remaining four principals are very close to the cap. If the superintendent salary is adjusted, you can bet the others will be as well. Between retirements, resignations and salary adjustments, the cap will save local taxpayers $150,0000 to $200,000 a year.

    And with any luck, the belt tightening trend will extend to staffing and contract negotiations.

    Come on Pbrain, open your eyes

  53. P says:

    Any money spent by a school district or municipality has a DIRECT IMPACT on local taxes, but the issue is, to what degree. Your theoretical savings of “$200K wouldn’t even knock a point of the tax levy in most Morris county districts. Whoop-de-friggin-do.

    If the other positions that you note are filled by tenured employees, as long as they remain in the job, the best the state can do is cap them at their current levels. If they impose new caps on other administrative jobs (to be imposed as new people come into them) based on the capped salary of the super, in smaller districts, the only people applying for principals’ jobs will be those with little or no experience given how low the salaries will be.

    Right now you’re whole “strategy” is best summed up in your own words – “bet” and “luck.” The word I would go with is MESS.

    P.S. You still haven’t explained why a police chief who manages a staff of less than 40 people should make more than a superintendent who handles a district the size of Parsippany. I’d love to hear the “logic” behind that one.

  54. P says:

    This is where the real battle over public education should be fought –

    Until the governor and the legislature get the Supreme court of NJ out of the business of dictating how much and where our Income Tax dollars are spent, we here in the suburbs ARE SCREWED.

    According to the state, Morris county pays about $1B in Income taxes, yet receives only about $100M in school aid and another $60M in municipal aid. Being short hundreds of millions in tax relief is the issue, not the hundreds of thousands we might save by capping the salaries of superintendents. That’s a three orders of magnitude difference for those keeping score out there.

  55. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, Pbrain, Pbrain try to keep up. Capping Superintendent Salary sets the tone for the entire district. And the approach is top down.

    You seem to want a cost control method that would cut a more significant amount…but Pbrain, the significant dollars belong to the employees with negotiated salary steps. You know, the employees you deem untouchable

    Staffing cuts would also significantly cut cost but alas, the state has no jurisdiction over staffing.

    Also stay on track. Police departments are not the question and besides, school budgets impact property tax rates far more than the police chief…who by the way is covered by a union contract.

    Come on Pbrain We’re talking about reducing the cost of education. Instead of pontificating, come up with a viable plan.

    PS I’m glad you admit to your mistake about the tax impact of superintendent salaries

  56. P says:

    1.) What “mistake” about the impact of Superintendent salaries. More fiction from Teddy.

    2.) All public sector salaries and compensation is the issue – So why pay a police chief with a 40 member staff $200K, but a superintendent with over 800 employees, over a dozen schools and over 7,000 students $175K? The better question is “Why does a town that small even have a police department?” Unfortunately, Ted has answers for neither.

    3.) Capping a super’s pay won’t “set the tone” for anything but chaos.

    4.) Where did I “deem” anything untouchable? Tenured employees’ salaries are “untouchable” because of state law. You might want to familiarize yourself with it.

    5.) If you want to reduce the cost of Public Education ($25B per year), you’ll need to do a lot more that cap supers’ salaries (net savings – $8M?). You still haven’t grasped how small an impact it has, have you?

    P.S. The state can and is cutting staff sizes by imposing a tax levy cap, but not intervening on staff contract negotiations. Every district with a contract that calls for more than a 1.5% – 2% wage increase for 2010/11 will be cutting staff unless the unions take a full or partial freeze. And if they really wanted to cut staff, they would have imposed the 2% cap on the entire tax bill, and not excluded health care and pension costs.

    P.P.S. Once again, your ignorance of personnel matters is STUNNING – Police Chiefs, like school superintendents, are NOT members of a union. Please stop making up “facts” just to suit your poorly thought out arguments.

  57. Ted Doty says:

    We’ve been through the Tax distribution argument before; Those who can afford to pay more. Pbrain, that’s just the way it is.

    But Pbrain, even if Morris County got school aid equivalent to taxes paid how would that reduce the cost of education?

    Your hair brained scheme does nothing more than kick the can down the road an ensure that the underprivileged stay that way

  58. P says:

    One other note – The NY Times editorial page weighed in on this issues (albeit, in a tangential way), and they aren’t supporting the Governor’s POV –

  59. Ted Doty says:

    Get a grip Pbrain, your referenced editorial has NOTHING to do with capping salaries. It discuses solicitation agreements between competing companies.

    It applauds the Justice Department for ruling that, for example the Department of Education can’t collude with private industry to keep superintendents in their current job.

    Hey, I think everyone agrees that if Seitz gets a job offer from private industry that pays more than his current job, HE SHOULD TAKE IT.

  60. P says:

    WOW, Ted just topped himself . . . “even if Morris County got school aid equivalent to taxes paid how would that reduce the cost of education . . ” How about, the additional $800M of school aid would cover well over half the cost of public school education in Morris County, so that portion of EVERY property tax bill could be reduced by over half! DUH.

    Instant 30 – 40% savings on TOTAL PROPERTY TAX BILL!

    P.S. There are many people in Morris Cty who can’t afford to “pay more,” yet they get screwed like everyone else because Morris Cty is full of “rich” towns.

    P.P.S. A good portion of the money could be re-targeted without impacting the kids if the state would spend as much time figuring out why it costs twice as much per student to educate a child in places like Asbury Park as anywhere in Morris Cty school district, as it does inspecting superintendent contracts.

  61. P says:

    Thank You Judge Doty for once again, mis-interpreting the court’s ruling. The point was that the Free Market should rule, not companies colluding (or governor’s imposing caps by executive fiat).

    Another course you must have failed – Constitutional Law.

  62. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, Pbrain, Pbrain redistribution of money IS NOT A COST REDUCTION. You can’t read or do math. DUH

    The governor is try to reduce taxes for all citizens not just you. Under your plan, a reduction in my tax bill means an increase for some one else…who by the way can’t afford it and has to do without

  63. Ted Doty says:

    PS the per pupil calculation spreads both fixed ad variable cost and is an invalid approach to comparing district finances

  64. Ted Doty says:

    Gee Fred, how come Pbrain’s comments get posted less than 2 minutes after my remarks yet mine wait for “moderation”?

    Better yet , When I post something after you’ve left for the day and it won’t appear until the next morning. There’s a Pbrain response time stamped after midnight?

  65. P says:

    62. Wrong, again, a redistribution dedicated to Tax Relief is TAX RELIEF. And as I’ve noted, there is a tremendous amount of waste, fraud and abuse in the system and it’s time to ferret it out.

    63. I don’t use the state’s numbers, I look at the total cost of running the district and divide. And it doesn’t matter if you are comparing variable or fixed costs, because whatever the total is, it’s what a district is spending to provide the same education that everyone else is.

    It’s even worse when you consider the fact that most Morris Cty school districts are carrying debt to pay for buildings and improvements whilst the Abbotts get a free ride on their construction costs.

    64. Stop whining. Fred has to approve all posts, not just yours. I’ve waited days to see my stuff go up . . or . . are you going to go back to claiming that I’m a DR plant so I get preferential treatment?

  66. P says:

    . . . and if you want to plumb the depths of Ted’s paranoia, read starting with comment #9 down through #37 –

    Ted, you are one CrAzY Dude.

  67. Ted Doty says:

    Redistribution is simply that. Total cost requirements stay the same the only difference is that suburban district’s wind up with more than is needed to run the schools and tax reduction. The “Abbots” end up with less than needed and no financial means to fill the short fall….State wide, There is NO tax relief. DUH.

    And that reading thing Pbrain has still haunts him. Pbrain, If I post at 5:30 PM after Fred leaves the office, how is it possible that my post appears at the same time as your response and your response is stamped around Midnight?

    Or for example my post #.59 is time stamped 12:28PM and your #60 is stamped 12:29…how is that even possible after accounting for Fred’s review time???

  68. P says:

    I’m sure when Fred comes in he approves all the outstanding posts, so you could press submit 1 sec after he leaves for the day, and I could do it 1 sec before he arrives, and they’ll both appear on the website within sec/min of one another QED. Not sure why a Great Thinker such as yourself couldn’t work that out.

    If you force the Abbotts to spend what the rest of us spend (per pupil) total costs (statewide) go down. And if you move that savings to all the suburban districts, but hold their total costs the same, the money goes back to the taxpayers who provided it in the first place, just like the constitutional amendment intended.

    Again, QED, and again, not sure why the Great Mind of Doty can’t work this out. I think it’s just too much time staring at solar panels, or maybe looking for the duplicate key to the wardroom icebox . . . ?

  69. Ted Doty says:

    It’s that reading thing again Pbrain. As I said, Your post is stamped at midnight, at last eight hours before my post appears

    First of all, the tax base of most Abbott districts cannot afford what the rest of us pay and we end up with economicly depressed areas that provide no hope for its youth.

    And how much will that cost taxpayers, Pbrain?

  70. P says:

    I don’t see a post from midnight. And comments are time stamped when submitted, not when they are published. If you keep the emails from the website you can see (approx.) when they were published after Fred approved. In the end, you’re just confused, and this isn’t worth debating.

    As for point #2, again, it’s not about increasing the property taxes in the Abbott districts, although, there are a few like Hoboken that are swimming in ratables and should no longer be getting a major handout from the state. It’s about making sure the money that is spent, is spent well. And what is being spent is way over the top, and that doesn’t include the capital spending that we pay for 100%. And it isn’t like we are seeing major results, no matter how much more the Supremes insist the state spend.

    Bottom Line – We need a new formula, and, a serious audit of all the monies that are spent. As the financial stakeholders, I think we are owed that much.

  71. Ted Doty says:

    So at least you now admit that redistribution of state aid is not tax reduction. that’s a step in the right direction. The problem now is that Pbrain shifted to the argument that Abbott districts don’t spend wisely, aren’t economically depressed and the state should spend additional funds to audit expenditures that the state authorized….brilliant!

    And Pbrain, what happens when the auditors DON’T reach the conclusions that YOU think they should? Ask for another investigation, spend more money???

    And why should we accept your analysis of one district’s financial status or that expenditures are “over the top”. AND should we conclude that ALL of the former “Abbott” district’s are in the same boat?

    Oh and while you’re at it, tell us all how the districts NOT “swimming” in ratable should be treated.

    Okay hot shot, you’re on. How do we handle economically challenged districts and/or what’s the cost of NOT dealing with them?

    Enough of your myopic views and anger filled outbursts. Give us a reasoned, viable solution to this problem.

    Pbrain, you hop from one topic to another in a J.D.Salinger stream of conscious manner. Try to focus on one issue and resolve it starting with this one.

  72. P says:

    I think I have been pretty clear that distributing the Income Taxes more fairly would CLEARLY result in Property Tax Reduction. The fact that you continue to misrepresent or misunderstand my position (intentional or otherwise), can only lead us to believe you are CLUELESS or a LIAR.

    I also didn’t say the Abbotts weren’t economically depressed, although a district like Hoboken (which is an Abbott), clearly is no longer a place wanting for property tax ratables. Again, misrepresentation (aka a LIE).

    As for what some of the Abbotts spend per pupil, can you really tell us that you couldn’t provide a proper education for 1/2 to 2/3 the price? You’re always railing about the costs in RT, but they are a bargain compared to the Abbotts. Not sure how anyone could square that circle.

    P.S. I’ve been called a lot of things in my lifetime, but ANGRY (or myopic, for that matter) isn’t one of them. On the other hand, almost anyone who seems to have ever met you firmly puts you in that category.

  73. Ted Doty says:

    You actually have been clear regarding your desire that “suburban districts” receive aid equal to taxes paid. What you’re not clear about is how such action would impact the so called Abbott” districts and how or whether citizens will assist those districts.

    Further you fail to acknowledge that there will be costs associated with not assisting the “Abbotts”. Might I suggest a comparison of current state expenditures for the “Abbotts” vs. all costs associated with not assisting them.

    As far as squaring “that” circle goes, you’re the one claiming that a proper education can be provided to the “Abbott” districts for 1/2 the cost. Why not share your suggestions?”

    Also, can you justify your mention of one specific district that may or may not have overcome financial difficulty when the discussion is about all economically depressed districts?

    The fact that you angrily assert that reducing state aid for Abbott districts is better, without offering an alternative is by definition myopic. Deal with it.

  74. P says:

    I would be happy if the suburban districts received aid equal to even half of what their taxpayers contribute (15 – 20% savings is a pretty good start).

    You continue to insist that they shouldn’t get a dime more lest the Abbotts be “deprived” of their “necessary” funding. By any chance, do you also work for ELC?

    And again, who said the Abbotts wouldn’t get assistance? Another DotyFiction.

    I said that the Abbotts could live with the same amount per pupil as the BEST I or J districts.

    As for the rest, you’re just deflecting.

    Admit it, you really don’t care about your local taxpayers, just putting the screws to a few administrators. When the people of Morris County wake up and realize that capping superintendent pay hasn’t saved them enough money to buy a cup of coffee ($8M / 8.7M people = $.90), they’ll realize that you and the Governor were just blowing smoke, and they still have the highest Property Taxes in the Nation.

    Do the Math people, Do The Math!

  75. Ted Doty says:

    Okay, you’ve altered your demand to a 20% return of taxes paid instead of 100%. You’re on the right track at least But you’ll need to better define your terms: who are the suburban districts that receive less than 20% of taxes paid? And substantiate the dollar amounts quoted.

    Now even if we accept your undocumented assertions, you haven’t explained how economically challenged districts will make up the lost funds. Or alternately you haven’t explain6ed how educational standards can be maintained on 1/2 to 1/3 of current funding;

    Nor have you determined whether it would cost the state more in the long term if we took your short sighted view and cut aid to the Abbott districts.

    In keeping with your MO, you attempt to divert the discussion back to superintendent salary…only this time you try blaming me for switching to the distribution of state aid . Might I remind you and others that Pbrain changed the discussion to state aid distribution back in Post 54.

    Okay, we’ll let you get away with your double reverse. So Pbrain, have you considered that capping superintendent salary would have a ripple effect throughout the system? Have you considered what impact the cap might have on a BOE’s approach to contract negotiations? Don’t you think a cap would tend to reduce the cost of education?

    Stop being angry, take a breath, focus on one issue at a time and think it through.

  76. P says:

    Ted, go back and reread what I wrote and correct all your mistakes in your statement above. Then go to the NJ DOE and NJ Treasury Depts websites and educate yourself about taxes paid and aid received.

    Once you know what YOU are talking about we can have a conversation. In the meantime, your inability to read a simple sentence and comprehend it, as well as you ignorance about state finances and your total acceptance of the ELC’s argument that there’s no amount of money that would be too much to spend on the Abbotts, makes it an utter waste of our time to continue down your rabbit hole.

  77. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, it’s your responsibility to support what you’ve claimed. Since you’re unable to do so, the rest of us will just consider your unsubstantiated claims as the wild rants of an angry person.

    Above is a perfect example, you indicate that Abbott funding could be lower and have the same effectiveness. Pbrain we’d all love to hear the plan.

    You’ve again left us hanging. Tell us Pbrain, which municipalities get back 20% or less of taxes paid to the state? And tell us what Abbott districts can cut withouteffecting educational standards.

    Further, Explain how capping superintendent compensation won’t have impact through out the education system.

    Stop being angry, take a breath, focus on one issue at a time and think it through….and answer with specifics.

  78. P says:

    When all else fails, revert to the ad hominem attack. Classic Dotyism.

    P.S. Why don’t you also explain to your taxpayers in RT why when it came time to reduce everyone’s aid last year the state took way the equivalent of about 5% of a district’s total budget, but when they got money from the Feds in the Fall, the Abbotts saw almost 60% of their money restored whilst Morris Cty districts saw 9%, and your got about 5%? So in the end, the Abbotts saw their total (bloated) budgets cut about 2%, while the suburban districts ended up get whacked by 4.5 – 4.9%.

    If the NJ DOE continues that pattern when state income tax revenues improve, there should be an army of middle class homeowners marching on Trenton.

  79. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, you once again attempt to alter the discussion as if your direction change answers the previous issue but as usual it does not.

    Your initial issue was that capping superintendent salaries is not only unfair, it only saves enough to buy coffee. But you refuse to address the impact that cap might have on the system’s primary expenditure, payroll.

    Then you decided the real problem is the distribution of state aid but forgot that redistribution doesn’t really reduce the states total burden.

    Then you decided that less can be assigned to Abbott districts because you found one that may or may not be economically depressed and you arbitrarily concluded a decent education could be provided for half the cost…no detail or logical reasoning was provided.

    Then briefly you switched back to superintendent compensation.

    And finally after being press for detailed support you open up discussion of Federal grant money specifically designed for economically depressed areas….wondering why wealthy districts didn’t get much of that.

    Pbrain, stop being angry, take a breath, focus on one issue at a time and think it through….and answer with specifics.

  80. P says:

    Ted, you continue to LIE & OBFUSCATE in a weak attempt to confuse with your useless comments.

    Let’s break it down in simple terms that even you should be able to understand (but won’t) –

    * Potential Statewide Superintendent “Savings” – $8M
    * Lost Property Tax Relief in Morris County – $400M – $800M

    So continue to follow the governor’s lead and ask people to ONLY focus on the scraps whilst hundreds of millions of dollars go flying out of Morris county annually, never to return.

    It’s how all magicians (and three-card monte dealers) work their “magic.” That’s the real misdirection, not my laser-like focus on providing real, lasting property tax relief.

    Property Tax Relief will only come with a fair distribution of our Income Taxes and a portion of the Sales Tax, not with the “formula” foisted on the state by the NJ Supreme Court and our buds at the ELC.

  81. Ted Doty says:

    ONE MORE TIME. Won’t the superintendent cap have a ripple effect on payroll for the entire system. If not, why not? And if so, isn’t compensation the highest cost line for the labor intensive education system?

    Effecting the high cost items is th logical approach. Your “blanket cut cost” method is without rhyme or reason and will lead to the chaos you like to mention

    And you’ll need further detail on the “lost” aid. For example how can it be lost if fund were distributed according to the law and court rulings?

    Pbrain, take a breath and think things through. Your laser focus is often misplaced

  82. P says:

    The Ripple Effect . . is that what happens when you drink too much cheap wine and then start pontificating about All Things Education . . ??

    Anywho, that’s your “claim,” but I’ve yet to see any proof. It does, however, sound a lot like “Trickle Down Economics,” for those of us who remember the 1980’s. I don’t seem to remember Libs like yourself putting much stock in that economic model.

    And as I’ve noted, and you’ve yet to refute, tenured employees cannot have their wages diminished. And I strongly doubt that the NJEA gives a whoot about any “downward pressure” that simpletons may think should be exerted on their bargaining units’ salary or health care coverage demands. And that, my friend, is where the real money is spent, not on supers.

    So keep telling people that you and the Gov have this whole Property Tax issue licked. As P.T. Barnum was claimed to note, There’s a sucker born every minute.

  83. P says:

    News Flash from 1990 – Money can’t buy you Love, Happiness or Educational Equality –

    So rather than continue to throw more and more money at the problem and pretend that it’s the only solution, how about something completely different?

    Definition of Insanity – Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

  84. Ted Doty says:

    Pbrain, a sipintendent salary has always set the trend for districts. Wher hae you been?

    The discussion is not about inceasing inestment in less affluent disricts. Stay focused Pbrain.

    YOU suggested a 50% cut on state aid to the Abbott districts and redistributing those funds to suburban districts to relie property tax rates

    What you fail to explain is the specifics of areas to cut supported by an assessment of the impact of the cuts.

    Alternately, how would Abbott districts replace the lost revenues if analysis indicates they’re of benefit?

  85. P says:

    Not sure what a “sipintendent” (sic) is, but I’ve never seen a study or report showing a correlation between the superintendent’s salary and the teaching staff’s (which is where 60% of a district’s money is spent). If you’re going to make that claim, could you provide evidence beyond your own “musings.”

    My claim is simple – Every district in the state should be able to educate its kids for a certain amount of money or less (a cap, if you will – 😉 ). The fact that the Abbotts exceed the state average by 100 – 150%, and even the most expensive suburban districts by 50 – 100% per student, and yet have been unable to translate all that extra spending into anything tangible, means that we are wasting billions on the mistaken belief that 1.) the constitution of the state requires this level of spending (it doesn’t); 2.) it is going to make a difference, it obviously hasn’t, nor will it ever.

    The state would be better off breaking up the large districts, allow charter schools to come in and take over the worst of the schools, and finally provide the kids in the Abbotts with a school system that is efficient and effective (as the constitution demands), not just a big black hole for our taxpayer dollars.

    P.S. Glad to see you final got my position on Property Tax Relief for the suburbs correct.

    P.P.S. I’m still waiting to hear how you would provide significant property tax relief for either the ‘burbs’ or the whole state. Your superintendent cap, as I’ve repeatedly shown, is a bust, as is your “Ripple Effect” theory.

  86. Ted Doty says:

    We have high superintendent salaries, high administrator salaries, and high teacher salaries but Pbrain sees no correlation? Well at least she sees payroll as the significant cost line (although 60% is about 20% too low). Pbrain set your laser to the big ticket payroll line item

    You continue your use of per pupil averages to compare districts. Pbrain, per pupil comparisons contain both fixed and variable cost components and can’t be used for comparing efficiency or effectiveness. For example, districts with newer, more expensive assets will have higher cost per pupil by definition. It’s just simple math.

    Of course Pbrain will ask why the Abbotts get newer stuff than those in the suburbs. Well, Pbrain it costs more to bring the the infrastructure of Abbotts to standard than maintain the standard at suburban schools. Again math and logic are abilities that Pbrain lacks.

    Capping superintendent pay will decrease salaries throughout the system. That’s just how things work. Pbrain needs to explain how simply cutting expendables for Abbott districts improves anything

  87. P says:

    Wrong, wrong and wrong.

    First, teachers’, and only teachers’, salaries (not comp) probably make up about 50% of a district’s costs, and you can’t cap them the way Christie wants to cap supers. Nor will capping supers have any effect on their salaries. You also haven’t provided a scintilla of evidence that supers’ salaries influence the salaries of teachers one way or another.

    If you look at an Abbott district’s budget you’ll be struck by the fact that they have little or no debt service costs! So those shinny new buildings that our districts (taxpayers) would be paying for for the next twenty-five or thirty years, were provided by the state (us) gratis. If you added those real costs, their per pupil expenditures would be EVEN HIGHER. And P.S., I don’t use the state’s bogus per pupil info. I take the total cost or running a district and divide it by the number of students. Those numbers are eye-popping and are the true cost of a student’s education in a given district.

    Redistributing the Income Taxes we pay to provide Property Tax relief would make the taxpayer cost of providing public education in Morris Cty much more reasonable . . and that would be a great improvement!

  88. Ted Doty says:

    Obviously Pbrain has never looked at a school budget. Typically, 75% of a schools operating budget is salary. Approximately 13% is employee benefits (legacy benefits are handled by the state. The other 12% goes to capital expenditure, transportation if it’s available, transfers to charter schools etc.

    And Pbrain any expenditure including those shiny buildings IS included in the per pupil statistic.

    read a budget, stay focused and do the math

  89. P says:

    Typically, 75% of a district’s budget goes for all staff (Administration, Teachers, Secretaries, Paraprofessionals, Custodians, Maintenance, other staff) compensation (Salaries, health care and pensions). Since I specifically said “Teachers Salaries” (because that is what you told us would experience the “Ripple Effect”), 50% is closer to the mark.

    And you still haven’t documented a single case where NJEA negotiated salaries are influenced up or down by Supers’ salaries. Just another unsubstantiated claim by Teddy – aka DotyLIES.

    As far as the cost of buildings in the Abbotts, I’d invite you to pull up any one of their budgets and tell us where you see either the upfront cost, or the annual debt service, that covers those buildings. I won’t be holding my breath because Mr. Know-It-All is, once again, talking out of his backside.

  90. Ted Doty says:

    What I wrote was that superintendent salaries set the tone for the entire system and it’s overall cost that we’re trying to control. YOU mistakenly said teacher salary Pbrain. You have to learn to read.

    Fixed cost is not just buildings,.Pbrain. And debt service IS NOT part of operating budget

  91. P says:

    I know what you wrote, and I also know what I wrote. I don’t disagree that limiting Super pay may push down other administrators’ salaries, and if it doesn’t naturally, the state may add additional caps.

    But as you noted, most of the money spent on salaries is on Teachers’, and you’ve yet to show how Super’s pay currently influences that of teachers in any district (much less statewide), and more importantly, how it will in the future. Just “wishing” or “hoping” or “thinking” it will happen because the state capped Supers’ salaries is a pipe dream.

    The World Awaits Your Proof.

    P.S. The state would be better off capping the amount of money a district can spend on health care benefits, or upping the employee contributions to 20 – 40% of cost. Both would have a bigger impact and a greater chance of success that your Ripple Down Effect.

    Oh, and we’re still waiting for the name of the Superintendents’ AND Police Chiefs’ Unions. Remember that “fact?”

  92. P says:

    P.P.S. Although Debt Service isn’t part of an Operating Budget, as far as your taxpayers are concerned, it is a cost of providing a public education and it does add to the REAL per Pupil Cost, regardless of what the state’s “comparables” say.

  93. Ted Doty says:

    You really gotta start reading better. I wrote that the superintendent salary cap will change the approach to contract negotiations. Do you really not understand that a boss doesn’t want employees on his or her pay scale?

    I noted that 88% (75% plus 13%) of a schools operating budget goes to compensation. And as the biggest expenditure, it’s logical that attempts to cut it.

    Now you want to cap 13% (benefits) of the budget and expect the property tax issue to be resolved. lol

  94. P says:

    “Change the approach . . ?” First of all, many districts barely use their supers for contract negotiations. Second, top Teacher pay is still miles away from even the cheapest full-time Supers, so when will they feel the need to worry about being passed, 2045? Third, even if they did care, what makes you think the NJEA gives a damn? And Fourth, you still haven’t shown even the slightest correlation between Super and Teacher pay (or named the unions that the Supers and Police Chiefs belong to).

    As for total comp, Teachers’ salaries are about 50% of a district’s operating expenses, and total comp for all employees is usually between 75 – 80%, not ~90%.

    Finally, health care costs may be around 13%, but they are by far the fastest growing line item (15 – 20% per year), and they fall OUTSIDE the tax levy cap. So getting staff to pay a reasonable amount will most definitely have a large impact on property taxes. Salaries have to be accounted for inside the 2% cap, so districts already have had to hold the line in contract negotiations. But we still haven’t seen a single district wring significant HC contributions from an NJEA local.

    You need to stay more current and recheck your “facts.”

  95. Ted Doty says:

    Actually, superintendents are actively involved in planing negotiation strategy. Pbrain, think about it. Superintendents know or at least have all relevant financial data at their disposal. The board knows nothing unless informed by the chief.

    In terms of salaries, top teachers in a k-8 district are paid in the mid $90,000 range. A superintendent salary cap puts salary at $1250,000 to $175,000. Not exactly miles apart.

    Superintendents belong to the administrators association…where have you been?

    Pbrain, school boards have no impact on the escalation of healthcare costs, thats a national issue impacting all. they can and do have some control over the cost of insurance and level of benefits. But you’re correct, health care costs are the real culprit

    Now even if school boards could halt the rapid in the cost of health insurance, the overall impact on school budgets is not as great as salary. Come Pbrain try to pay attention .

  96. P says:

    Your board must have been a lot of fun. Ignorant townies lead around by an all supreme super.

    Given the new state cap will limit increases in all staff salary to about 2%, and increases at the Top of the Guide are even less (in percent terms), it is a really long way from $90K to 125K, even if the supers’ salaries never move 9which we know will never happen).

    The superintendents’ association is as much of a “union” as the NJSBA is a union for BOE members, or the ABA is for lawyers! To insist otherwise is beyond laughable.

    The state, municipalities and school boards can most definitely adjust the impact that health care costs have on taxpayers. When public employees are paying about 5% of the cost, and their private sector counterparts (and even Federal employees) are paying 25 – 50%, there’s a lot of $$ that can and should be shifted from the employer to the employee.

    With $3B of public education costs now going to pay for HC benefits, an additional 10% contribution yields $300M, which dwarfs the $8M you and the Gov might save in three years time with the Super Cap!

    Just Do the Math.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: