New Newsworks column: Newark’s School Reform Battle is Taking a Toll on its UnionSeptember 18, 2014
Sunday LeftoversSeptember 21, 2014
Now here’s an odd comment from Gov. Christie: according to today’s NJ Spotlight, N.J.’s controversial salary cap for superintendents was NJEA’s idea. According to the article, at a state house press conference yesterday, Christie said,
“Remember, the superintendent salary cap was an idea of the New Jersey Education Association. Maybe you should go ask them.”
Really? Seems awfully unlikely that the state teachers’ union would suggest that any salary get capped, whether based on district enrollment, as the superintendent salary cap is, or on any other factor. Since when do labor unions try to limit compensation?
One of the problems with the superintendent caps, (which range from $125K-$175K, topping out at the Governor’s salary) is that over the last few years salaries for lower-ranked staff members are approaching that cap. For example, in Princeton Regional Schools (Mercer) the superintendent makes the maximum allowed by the D.O.E.: $167,500, based on Princeton’s enrollment. However, the assistant superintendent makes $165,282 and the business administrator makes $174,488 (according to 2013-2014 DOE data).
In fact, three school principals in Princeton make more than the superintendent.
Now, most likely the Governor’s pipedream was that districts would proceed independently to cap salaries of the next couple of levels of management. That never happened. It probably never will, because principals are represented by their own unions and it’s just not good business sense to inform a valued manager that he or she has hit the ceiling for compensation.
Several bills, with much wind in their sails, are circulating through the Statehouse to nullify the superintendent salary cap, which was imposed through Executive Order. Of course, Christie could always veto it, and his latest comments are either a canard to allow him to reverse himself (blame it on NJEA! It was never my idea in the first place!) or a careless aside.
Anyway, here’s NJEA’s poetic response to the question of whether the salary cap was its idea:
“Absolutely not,” said Steve Wollmer, the union’s communications director. ”He proposed it, we opposed it, and he knows it.