Move to repeal NJ cap on school chiefs’ salaries advances

A New Jersey Senate committee has advanced a measure to end state regulation of the maximum salary a school district can pay its superintendent.

Superintendent job turnover is up since the state instituted the salary cap in 2011, said Lynne Strickland with the Garden State Coalition of Schools.

“We need to move ahead in a more positive, stable direction for education leadership, and it brings a higher quality of education along with it when you have constancy and continuity,” she said Monday.

Sen. Jennifer Beck said the cap was aimed at limiting the huge compensation packages for superintendents.

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“I have real concerns about just simply saying, ‘Oh, heck with it, no cap, let’s go.’ We’ve been down that path, and it didn’t work that well,” said Beck, R-Monmouth.

The bill’s supporters say a 2 percent cap on property tax increases limits school district spending — and they want school districts to be able to pay their superintendents enough to prevent their leaving for higher salaries.

“We are losing great wonderful human beings that have taken districts to the next level because they can drive 40 minutes and make the same amount that they were making before their contracts expired,” said Sen. Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex.

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