FLASHBACK: Governor Christie Puts Children First with Proposal to Cut Out-of-Classroom Costs

  • Tuesday, September 28, 2010
  • Tags: Education
July Reform Proposed Cap On Administrator Pay
"But the reality is school districts can find cost savings and budget more effectively with the funds they have. It is possible to lower costs and protect the quality of education, prevent layoffs and limit property tax increases. School districts need the tools to act, and I am committed to providing them."

– Governor Chris Christie, 3/23/10


Press Release Highlights

Trenton, NJ –
Continuing the administration’s efforts to ensure the maximum amount of education funding stays in the classroom, Governor Chris Christie…unveiled a proposal to cap and reform school administrators’ salaries.  The proposal would result in a salary reduction for 366 school superintendents, upon the expiration of their current contracts. …

“While families and school districts across the state cope with fewer resources and continued fiscal challenges, many school administrators continue to receive salaries that are out of proportion with the private sector and current economic realities. On the other hand, many administrators like Superintendent Uszenski stepped up this year to meet the financial challenges in their districts by accepting a voluntary pay freeze and I applaud their efforts and willingness to share in the sacrifice for New Jersey students,” said Governor Christie.  “It is our responsibility, in state government and at the local level, to act in every possible way to ensure that as many education dollars remain in the classroom as possible.  This cap will limit excessive administrator pay and ensure that more dollars are available for our children.”

Spotswood Superintendent Walt Uszenski, along with all of the Spotswood’s administrative staff, accepted a wage freeze this year to help the district manage its financial difficulties.

Under the proposal, the maximum base salary that a district could pay a superintendent would rise with the size of the school district. The top salary for the superintendent of a K-8 district with fewer than 250 students would be $120,000. From there, salary maximums would gradually step up with the size of the school district to the point that the superintendent of a district with up to 10,000 students could be paid a maximum of $175,000. A superintendent in one of New Jersey’s 16 districts with more than 10,000 students could earn a higher base salary.
Read the full release from July 15th here.


Fact Sheet Highlights

The Christie Reform Agenda: Cutting Costs and Directing Dollars to the Classroom

The Christie Reform Agenda includes a comprehensive tool kit to provide municipalities and school districts the necessary reform measures that will allow them to keep costs low and fund priority services.  The Governor’s latest reform proposal caps education administrator pay and puts an end to abuses in the system. 
This action has the potential to save almost $9.8 million and help ensure that the maximum amount of education funding stays in the classroom.  On average, superintendents’ salaries have risen over twice the rate of inflation - a nearly 46 percent increase since 2001.  This is a higher increase than teacher compensation or overall education spending.  The ultimate cost to New Jersey taxpayers is over $100 million.
The Christie proposal will cut out-of-classroom costs by capping school administrators’ salaries and reforming how they are paid.

Bringing Salaries In-Line with District Demands
The Christie proposal brings superintendent salaries in line with district needs.  Right now, superintendents in districts with over 1,000 students earn an average of $192,764, while superintendents in districts with fewer than 1,000 students earn an average of $152,764.
These salaries are out of proportion with the private sector, current economic realities and district demands.  Under the current proposal, the base pay of superintendents would be capped according to a sliding scale that takes into account the student enrollment of the district(s) overseen, with an increment of $5,000 for each additional district served by a single superintendent, and an increment of $2,500 if the district(s) include(s) at least one high school.


Student Enrollment of District(s)            Maximum

0 – 250                                                      $120,000

251 – 750                                                   $135,000

751 – 1,500                                                $150,000

1,501 – 3,000                                              $165,000

3,001 – 10,000                                            $175,000

Over 10,000                                                * 

* Superintendent compensation in the sixteen districts with student enrollment over 10,000 would be subject to separate rules developed by the Department of Education.

School boards would not be permitted to increase a superintendent’s base pay (for example, with longevity increases) beyond these salary caps.  Additionally, no superintendent contract that includes a compensation package above these salary caps could be extended; at its expiration, the new compensation package of the superintendent would need to conform to this new policy.

Rewarding Success:  Individual Year Incentives for Performance

For all new contracts, upon attainment of pre-determined milestones, school districts will be able to provide superintendents a non-pensionable, individual year merit stipend, awarded on the basis of the school district’s year-to-year progress relative to specific performance metrics of student learning.

Read the full fact sheet here.


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Press Contact:
Michael Drewniak
Kevin Roberts

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