NJPSA Supports Changes in the Superintendent Salary Cap

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Today, the New Jersey Department of Education announced proposed changes in State Regulations regarding the Superintendent’s Salary Cap, which has been in place in New Jersey since 2011 and was due to sunset on November 25, 2016. Under this new proposed regulation, the new caps will be increased to $147,797 for school districts with fewer than 750 students, $169,689 for districts with between 750 and 2,999 students, and $191,584 for districts with more than 3,000 students. For districts with a student enrollment of or greater than 10,000, the district can make a written application on a case-by-case basis to exceed the maximum salary cap to the Commissioner.

In addition, the high school salary increment will increase to $5,000, and an additional administrative position salary increment of $5,000  will be established. The proposed regulations also permit superintendent contracts to contain up to a two percent annual increases during the contract term as existing contracts expire. For superintendents’ contracts in effect on July 1, 2016, annual increases up to a maximum of two percent can be renegotiated at any time, but no retroactive increases or back pay can be agreed upon in such cases.

Patricia Wright, executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, is encouraged by these proposed changes. “NJPSA strongly supports these changes in the superintendent salary cap, as principals and supervisors have experienced first hand, the negative impacts of the restrictive salary caps on district leadership statewide,” Wright said. “Attracting the very best school leaders to serve as superintendents is critical in our continuing effort to provide our students with an outstanding education and to ensure that they are fully prepared to succeed in college and careers. These new proposed regulations are an important first step in this direction.”

Since the enactment of the superintendent’s salary cap, there has been a significant increase in the mobility rate of experienced superintendents — either to retirement or to out-of-state positions. Many superintendents facing a major drop in compensation at the end of their employment contract have chosen to leave in search of market rate compensation, particularly in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, which do not have salary caps. This talent drain has cost our state significantly, causing instability in leadership at the top level in far too many districts, as an estimated 40 percent of districts are relying on interim superintendents.

“We are pleased to note that the proposed changes in the superintendent’s salary cap will promote greater leadership stability and reliability, by allowing superintendents to receive pay increases during their contract term and in subsequent contracts within the same district,” Wright said. “This change will also build a better foundation for future leadership by restoring a strong career ladder encouraging principals, school business officials, and other educators to seek the superintendency.

“We applaud the New Jersey Association for School Administrators, the Department of Education and all who worked collaboratively on this important initiative, and we look forward to continuing to work with all educational constituencies to improve teaching and learning and increase student achievement,” Wright said.

Public testimony sessions on these rules and other aspects of the Fiscal Accountability, Efficiency and Budgeting regulations, N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-1-15, will take place at the following dates and locations:

  1. Date: Monday, January 9, 2017, Noon to 2:00 p.m.

Location:  NJ Department of Education

100 River View Executive Plaza

Trenton, NJ 08625-0500

  1.  Date:  Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location:  Camden County College

200 College Drive

Blackwood, NJ 08012

  1.  Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location:  Morris County Police and Fire Academy Auditorium

500 W. Hanover Avenue

Morristown, NJ 07960