Tonight the Asbury Park Board of Education will hold a special meeting. Why? Because at the April 20th public meeting the School Board, after an outcry from teachers and community members, tabled (i.e., delayed) a vote on whether to accept Superintendent Rashawn Adams’ recommendation to deny fifteen teachers their annual raises negotiated by the local teachers union. This is known as “increment withholdings.” The way the process is supposed to work is that a superintendent recommends that the school board withhold the raises because the staff member’s performance is unsatisfactory or for other disciplinary reasons. The school board then votes on whether to approve that recommendation.
However, according to inside sources, the fifteen staff members listed (by identification numbers) on tonight’s agenda already received letters informing them their increments were being withheld. The letters were dated May 2nd and signed by Mr. Adams.
More on this tomorrow (including the district’s reliance on emergency federal aid to cover ongoing costs). Also note that New Jersey taxpayers have shelled out annual salaries for a state-appointed state monitor stationed in Asbury Park since 2007. The state monitor is overseen by the State Department of Education. Is the Murphy Administration paying attention?
In the meantime, here is the New Jersey state statute on the increment withholding process, which clearly identifies the School Board’s authority to withhold increments, not the superintendent’s.
18A:29-14. Withholding increments; causes; notice of appeals
Any board of education may withhold, for inefficiency or other good cause, the employment increment, or the adjustment increment, or both, of any member in any year by a recorded roll call majority vote of the full membership of the board of education. It shall be the duty of the board of education, within 10 days, to give written notice of such action, together with the reasons therefor, to the member concerned. The member may appeal from such action to the commissioner under rules prescribed by him. The commissioner shall consider such appeal and shall either affirm the action of the board of education or direct that the increment or increments be paid. The commissioner may designate an assistant commissioner of education to act for him in his place and with his powers on such appeals. It shall not be mandatory upon the board of education to pay any such denied increment in any future year as an adjustment increment.
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