“What we’re trying to do here is to shift the paradigm.”
Gov. Chris Christie – on his proposal to cap superintendent salaries.
If Governor Christie’s object in public education was to shift the paradigm with his proposal to cap superintendent salaries in conjunction with his 2% hard cap, then he can declare “mission accomplished!”
High salaries and compensation for superintendents in New Jersey have been an issue for awhile. Like a volcano, New Jersey politicians and citizens blew their collective top over the retirement package of about $750,000, given to former Keansburg superintendent, Barbara A. Trzeszkowski. (However it is worth noting that in March, the N.J. Department of Education reached a settlement with her nullifying her $556,290 severance payment. She did receive $184,000 for accrued vacation and sick time.) Now, two years later, with reduced state aid, budgets cut to the bone, and many staff members taking pay freezes, high salaries for superintendents stood out even more. Gov. Christie has moved quickly to rein in the salaries and cap that volcano, and he is doing it without legislative approval. (Not that he would get any resistance from legislators in the State House, since there are very few things less politically advantageous than defending high-salaried public employees.)
Back in early May, I wrote a blog entry, The argument over the cost of education. In it I noted that the real issue for the governor is that he believes the cost of education is too high and that it could be delivered at a lower cost without sacrificing quality. (more…)