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To some individuals, it sounds like a lot of money, but there is a lot of schooling and experience that went into these,” Jersey City Superintendent Norma Fernandez said. “It is a very conservative salary when you compare to similar positions across the state for other superintendents.
Tone-deaf much? On the other hand, Fernandez is right: her new salary is $245,000 a year, a 32% increase from previous contract but not as much as other NJ superintendents make. For instance, Newark Superintendent Roger Leon made $290,050 last year, Eileen Shafer of Paterson made $267,900, and the former head of Hudson County magnet schools, Frank Gargiulo, was making $300,000 a year when he retired in 2018. (He also walked away with a $1.1 million payout from unused vacation and sick days.)
Fernandez got a $60,000 raise when the Jersey City School Board appointed her to a three-year term as permanent superintendent at the very end of June. She will get a $5,000 raise each subsequent year, according to an Open Public Records request filed by the Jersey Journal. She also gets a $7,200 longevity payment each year (she’s been with the district for almost 40 years) plus a $31,707 payout for unused vacation days. When she retires she’ll get a $90,700 check for 528.5 unused sick days. Regulations cap sick-day payouts to $15,000 but only for state employees hired after 2007.
Originally the Jersey City Board of Education planned on doing a national search when former superintendent Franklin Walker retired. But members changed their minds, after prodding from Jersey City teacher union president Ron Greco, and hired Fernandez, who had been Deputy Superintendent since late 2021.
If you want to see how much your local district pays its superintendent, go here.