Bad Case LawSeptember 12, 2008
Dysfunction-R-UsSeptember 15, 2008
Marie Bilik, Executive Director of New Jersey School Boards Association, has been busy defending the honor of NJ’s 4800 school board members as our public schools wilt under poorly-rendered legislation from the State, bad press from sketchy contracts, school construction controversies, and rising school taxes. In an “Open Public Letter” this week she quoted NJSBA President Harry Delgado, who neatly sums up the home rule/state rule dilemma:
Local school governance is under attack. State officials are diverting the blame for New Jersey’s fiscal crisis away from their own actions and toward local school boards. Part of the state’s game plan is legislation and regulation that is far more intrusive, far more illogical, and far more micro-managing than anything we’ve seen before.
In the Record today, Ms. Bilik has an editorial which defends the NJSBA’s resources and oversight, and points out that the case of the Keansburg superintendent is not representative of local school boards’ governance. She writes,
IN RECENT MONTHS, virtually every media outlet covered the case of the Monmouth County schools superintendent who retired with a $740,000 severance package. Reaction from the public and lawmakers was heated, and school superintendents have been vilified.
These reactions desperately need a sense of balance.
The fact is, news reports and state investigations of other superintendent contracts across New Jersey found nothing of the magnitude of the Keansburg agreement. Even an Associated Press review of dozens of superintendent contracts led to headlines: “Excessive Superintendent Perks Rare.”
So let’s not diminish the important role superintendents play in the education system, and the responsible manner in which local school boards carry out their obligation to the community.
So, the current mess is not the fault of the school boards. It’s not the fault of the superintendents. Hmmm. I don’t see anything thing here about the State Department of Education…