Final regulations governing school districts’ fiscal accountability, efficiency and budgeting procedures were published in the New Jersey Register on Monday, May 1, and take effect as of that day.
The regulations, which include revisions to the superintendent salary caps, have a sunset date of April 2, 2024 and will remain in effect for the next seven years unless amendments are proposed and adopted in the interim.
The Accountability Regulations are separated into two distinct components: those that only require approval of the commissioner of education, and those that follow the traditional rule promulgation process and fall under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Education.
Commissioner Regs and Salary Caps The so-called “Commissioner Regulations” (N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-1 through 15) address such subjects as:
- School district fiscal accountability;
- Early termination of superintendent contracts;
- Review of employment contracts for central office administrators;
- Certificate revocation of superintendents, assistant superintendents and school business administrators;
- The property tax cap;
- The office of the executive county superintendent;
- Regionalization plans;
- School district travel regulations;
- Efficiency standards, and
- Budget procedures.
The Commissioner Regulations also contain the superintendent salary caps that were put into effect in 2010, and which have been the subject of intense debate ever since. The new regulations adopted by the commissioner contain various revisions to the salary caps, which constitute the most significant substantive amendments to the entire regulatory package.
Salary Adjustments As adopted by the commissioner, the new superintendent salary cap regulations condense the enrollment categories. The caps have also been adjusted based on the rate of inflation.
|Previous CSA Salary Caps||New CSA Salary Caps|
|Enrollment Category||Salary Maximum||Enrollment Category||Salary Maximum|
|250 students or less||$125,000||749 student or less||$147,794|
|251 to 750||$135,000|
|751 to 1,500||$145,000||750 to 2,999||$169,689|
|1,501 to 3,000||$155,000|
|3,001 to 6,500||$165,000||3,000 or more||$191,584|
|6,501 or more||$175,000|
|10,000 or more||Commissioner may grant a waiver of the maximum salary amount. However, the eligible district may submit only one such waiver request during the term of a contract.||10,000 or more||Commissioner may grant a waiver of the maximum salary amount.|
Retention Increases Significantly, the revised code provides additional flexibility in the area of maximum compensation. Specifically, the regulations (N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-1.2) state the following:
“If the contract in effect on July 1, 2016, is not the superintendent’s initial contract with that school district, the superintendent can renegotiate at any time after May 1, 2017 and may receive an annual salary moving forward that exceeds the maximum salary amount by up to two percent in the first year of the renewal contract, followed by annual increases of up to two percent in each of the remaining years of the renewal contract and any contract thereafter.”
Merit Goals As with the previous cap regulation, the new provisions also allow for merit bonuses for superintendents who meet up to three quantitative merit goals (an additional 3.33 percent of salary for each goal achieved) and two qualitative goals (2.5 percent each). The goals are determined in the CSA’s contract and bonuses must still be approved by the executive county superintendent.
High School Stipend The code revisions increase the increment amount for a superintendent working in a school district served with a high school from $2,500 to $5,000.
Shared Superintendent The regulations also increase from $10,000 to $15,000 the stipend a superintendent may receive for each additional school district he or she supervises.
Additional Administrative Position Salary Increment The regulations create a new stipend for superintendents who also serve in another administrative position, such as a principal or director of special services. Such individuals would be eligible to earn an additional $5,000, but the stipend is limited to one additional administrative position, and must be supported by a job description and justified as being cost-efficient and operationally feasible for the school district.
State BOE Accountability Regs The fiscal accountability regulations that fall under the State Board of Education’s purview (N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-16 through 23) address school district finances and business services. The regulations that went into effect contain very few substantive changes and were essentially readopted “as is” to prevent them from lapsing. However, the State Board is currently in the process of conducting a more thorough examination of each individual subchapter within these regulations. For example, the State Board has already proposed significant amendments to subchapter 18, which concerns the operations of Approved Private Schools for students with Disabilities (APSSDs).
The full texts of the newly-adopted fiscal accountability regulations can be found by following the links below. NJSBA staff will conduct a thorough review of the regulations and provide guidance to districts as may be necessary for them to comply with any changes.
Please find the text of the Commissioner Regulations here.
Please find the full text of the State BOE Regulations here.
A task force created last year by NJSBA also studied the Accountability Regulations. Its final report can be found on NJSBA’s website.