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(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt that would help control school superintendent contracts was approved 78-0 Monday by the Assembly.
“Superintendent’s contracts should be fair, consistent and most importantly transparent. Taxpayers shouldn’t be required to hire an actuary to determine the effect of unusual clauses or contract provisions for Superintendents in different school districts throughout our state,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex), the Assembly Education Committee chairman. “This legislation will level the playing field for all involved in the process of negotiating a contract.”
The bill (A-406) requires the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the New Jersey School Boards Association and the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, to develop a model employment contract for superintendents of schools.
The contract will address, but need not be limited to, salary, health insurance, pension benefits, sick days, and vacation leave.
The provisions of the model contract must ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations including recent enactments regarding travel restrictions, the nullification of the employment contract in the case of certification revocation, restrictions on the payment of supplemental compensation for accumulated unused sick leave and restrictions on the use of vacation leave.
“This is a cost-saving measure, but more importantly, it’s a common sense measure,” said Cryan (D-Union). “With schools facing steep cuts in state aid, we need to make sure that reDests are maximized and focused on the classroom experience.”
“Eliminating exorbitant perks for superintendents is another tool to help local governments stay within the new 2-percent property tax cap,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “As some of the highest paid public employees in the state, it’s important that superintendent contracts are entered into carefully and wisely, without the golden parachutes and sweetheart deals we have seen cost taxpayers money in the past.”
The bill requires a school district to use the model contract for the employment of a superintendent of schools. The mandated model employment contract may be altered by the school district and prospective superintendent of schools only with the prior approval of the commissioner.