Last week a divided Jersey City Board of Education extended Superintendent Charles T. Epps Jr.’s contract until 2013. Today one of the newly-elected Board members who had voted against the extension, Sterling Waterman, issued a press release charging that the Jersey City Board violated state law by holding a vote on Epps’ extension without adequate public notice:
“If Superintendent Epps wants two more years, he and the Board have to give an opportunity to the parents, students and citizens to discuss it openly before the Board,” he continued, ”The people were denied their legal right to a public hearing."Last month Waterman had published an op-ed arguing that the Board should conduct a nationwide search for Epps’ $260,000 position. According to a Star-Ledger article, at last one of the Board members, Angel Valentin, had agreed with Waterman but during the meeting explained that he changed his mind because a search would be too expensive. From the Star-Ledger:
Superintendent since 2000, Epps, 66, acknowledged yesterday that the majority of the public schools in the city are considered to be failing based on test scores. But he is credited with closing the achievement gap, improving passing rates in lower grades, and putting the district, which has been state-run since 1989, in a position to regain local control.