The New Jersey Department of Education on Nov. 16 released proposed revisions to a portion of the state’s Accountability Regulations, N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-1 through 15, including changes to the superintendent salary cap provisions. The proposal would adjust salary maximums, allow for “retention” increases, and make other changes to the cap process.

“While we appreciate movement on this issue, we are disappointed that the salary cap concept would remain in effect,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “NJSBA maintains that the superintendent salary cap is an unnecessary cap within a cap. The compensation package for the district’s chief education officer should be the purview of the local school board, which is responsible for the local governance of public education.”

An NJSBA task force studied the Accountability Regulations for close to a year. Its final report, which contained more than 60 recommendations, called for elimination of the salary cap. The recommendations have been shared with the Acting Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education.

Effective in 2011, the cap provisions set salary maximums for its superintendents based on district enrollment. They also provided stipends if the district contained a high school or if the chief school administrator served in a shared capacity with more than one district. The provisions also allowed a district to set performance goals for superintendent which, if met, would result in additional compensation.

Proposed Revisions In its explanation of the proposed revisions, the Department of Education acknowledged the need to give local school boards more flexibility.

“The Department proposes to increase the caps commensurate with inflation and create renewal incentives in recognition that school districts should have more flexibility to recruit and retain educational leaders who meet the needs of the school district,” it states.

“The proposed amendments also seek to address the instability that may accompany increased rates of superintendent turnover and an over-reliance on interim superintendents to fill vacant superintendent positions.”

Salary Adjustments/Retention Increases The existing regulations cap salaries at maximum amounts based on six enrollment categories. The Nov. 16 proposal would consolidate the enrollment categories into three groups, with increased salary maximums.

Significantly, it would also allow districts to increase the salaries of superintendents who are at maximum and who accept new contracts by 2 percent for each year of the new agreement.

Proposed CSA Cap Existing CSA Cap
Enrollment CategorySalary MaximumEnrollment CategorySalary Maximum
749 students or less$147,794250 students or less$125,000
750 to 2,999$169,689251 to 750$135,000
3,000 or more$191,584751 to 1,500$145,000
1,501 to 3,000$155,000
3,001 to 6,500$165,000
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 moreCommissioner may grant a waiver of the maximum salary amount.

Merit Goals As with the existing cap regulation, the proposal also allows for merit bonuses for superintendents who meet up to three quantitative merit goals (an additional 3.33% of salary for each goal achieved) and two qualitative goals (2.5% each). The goals are determined in the CSA’s contract and bonuses must be approved by the Executive County Superintendent.

High School Stipend The proposed code revision would 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 It also increases from $10,000 to $15,000 the stipend for superintendents who supervise an additional school district. However, the proposal would limit the increment to one additional school district.

Public Hearings The Department of Education has scheduled three public hearings on the proposed regulations:

  • Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, 12 noon-2 p.m., New Jersey Department of Education, 100 River View Executive Plaza, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0500
  • Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, 6-8 p.m., Camden County College, 200 College Drive, Blackwood, NJ 08012
  • Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, 6-8 p.m., Morris County Police and Fire Academy Auditorium, 500 W. Hanover Avenue, Morristown, NJ 07960

Sunset of Regulations The Accountability Regulations, N.J.A.C. 23A, were scheduled to sunset on Nov. 25. However, by virtue of the filing of the proposed revisions on Nov. 16, the current regulations will remain in effect for an additional 180 days and will sunset on May 24, 2017.

As permitted under a 2008 statute, the commissioner of education, rather than the State Board of Education, has authority to readopt sections 1 through 15 of the regulations, including the superintendent salary cap.

NJSBA is conducting an in-depth analysis of the proposed revisions to N.J.A.C. 23A-1 through 15, and will provide further information in School Board Notes.