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PANEL OK’S DIEGNAN/CRYAN/LAMPITT BILL CREATING
STANDARD FOR SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT CONTRACTS
Greatly Varying Perks, Salaries Underscore Need For Statewide Boilerplate Language
(TRENTON) – The Assembly Education Committee today released legislation Assembly members Patrick J. Diegnan, Joseph Cryan and Pamela Lampitt sponsored to implement a statewide contract template for the hiring of all public school superintendents.
“There is absolutely no reason that superintendent contracts should vary so greatly from district-to-district,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “A standard contract template would level the playing field across districts and stop the end-run abuses of tax dollars meant for the classroom. Most importantly, it would insulate the vast majority of dedicated educators from seeing their reputations tarnished by the untoward practices of a few.”
The legislation (A-3185) would require that all school districts in New Jersey use a standard contract template when hiring a new superintendent. The template would be created by state education officials and would address all aspects of employment including salary, health insurance, pension, sick days and vacation. School boards and prospective superintendents seeking to deviate from the standard contract would have to seek approval the Commissioner of the Department of Education.
The lawmakers said contract standardization would dovetail with new accountability regulations issued last summer by Commissioner Lucille Davy. Those regulations give state officials the ability to evaluate contracts for superintendents, assistant superintendents and school business administrators and veto those found to be excessive.
“A standardized contract and the new accountability regulations would work in tandem to ensure that no one is able to game the system for their personal gain,” said Cryan (D-Union). “A fixed standard leaves no room for abuse.”
“Taxpayers in one school district cannot be played against those in another by a candidate seeking to get the best deal for themselves with no regard for their ultimate responsibility to children,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “School officials should have their eyes on the progress being made in their classrooms, not on the progress being made in the fine print of their contracts.”
The measure was released 12-0 and now heads to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.
For Release: January 26, 2009
Contact: Assemblyman Diegnan, 908-757-1677
Brian McGinnis, 856-435-1247
Assemblyman Cryan, 908-624-0880