TRENTON, July 20, 2019—The New Jersey School Boards Association applauds Governor Murphy and the Legislature for enacting a bill that effectively eliminates the superintendent salary cap. The governor signed the legislation, S-692/A-3775, yesterday.
The cap has been “an unnecessary restriction that can have a negative impact on the quality, stability and continuity of public education,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive Director.
NJSBA took an active role in supporting the legislation, which explicitly prohibits the New Jersey Department of Education from regulating the maximum salary a school district may pay its superintendent of schools. Established through regulation by the Commissioner of Education, the superintendent salary cap originally went into effect in February 2011.
With the removal of the restriction, school districts still have to comply with the following spending constraints under statute and code:
- The 2 percent cap on increases in the school tax levy;
- The Administrative Spending Growth limit, and
- State Department of Education review of superintendent employment contracts (N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-3.1), based on criteria designed to limit excessive compensation packages.
“Collectively, these constraints require boards of education to be prudent in determining where to allocate their limited resources,” said Feinsod.
“Local boards of education need the discretion over superintendent compensation to ensure that they are able to attract and retain the chief school administrators who are best suited to lead their education programs,” he said.
The impact of the salary cap had been felt across the state with respect to turnover, a decline in the experience level of candidates, and a proliferation in the hiring of interim superintendents who can only serve a maximum of two years in any school district, according to NJSBA.
Noting that a number of school districts are engaged in recruitment of new superintendents, Feinsod explained that elimination of the salary cap “will enhance their ability to select the best candidates possible and advance the stability and continued quality of public education in New Jersey.”
“NJSBA appreciates the leadership of the bill’s primary sponsors Senators M. Teresa Ruiz and Paul Sarlo and Assembly members Mila Jasey, Ralph Caputo and Jamel Holley on this critical initiative,” said Feinsod. “The Association also thanks Governor Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin for recognizing the need to eliminate this flawed policy.”
The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of the state’s local boards of education and includes the majority of New Jersey’s charter schools as associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.