Large Nuts

Today's Jersey section of the New York Times reviews the current excitement over the few NJ public school superintendents who are due to receive inordinately high salaries and retirement packages, and the lawsuit by the NJASA (New Jersey Association of School Administrators) against the Education Commissioner, Lucille Davy. The suit claims that limits on school boards to set compensation packages arbitrarily denies administrators of their constitutional rights of equal treatment and due process.

Lost in much of this foofaraw, but touched on in the Times piece, is the instrument for all this new oversight, fondly known as 6A or, more formally, "Fiscal Accountability, Efficiency and Budgeting Procedures." In a nutshell (okay, a large nutshell -- the first part comes in at 84 pages) attempts to standardize the finances and academics for all of our 603 school districts. One of the key pieces of this legislation creates the position of Executive Superintendent, one for each of the 21 counties in New Jersey, and one of their responsibilities is to review and approve all new or renewed contracts for school superintendents, assistant superintendents, and business administrators.

Steve Edelstein, lawyer for the NJASA, gets the money quote. According to Mr. Edelstein, this oversight "flies in the face of a strong tradition of home rule in New Jersey."

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