And Here's What's Wrong With N.J.'s Superintendent Salary Caps

The superintendent of Harrison Public Schools, James Doran, is resigning his post. Instead of retaining the top slot in the district, he took a demotion in order to make more money. If he kept his superintendency, he’d have to take a $72,500 salary cut in order to abide by New Jersey’s superintendent salary cap. So Doran has become Harrison’s Personnel Director and makes $200,000.

According to the Star Ledger, seven Harrison school staff members make more than the $157,500 superintendent salary cap for the 2,036-student district: : the assistant superintendent ($216,955), technology director, businesses administrator ($183,163), assistant business administrator ($179,690) and three principals. (Salaries from 2013-2014 DOE data.)

Now, one could argue that a four-school  K-12 district (there’s also a preschool building) should be paying top administrators less. That was most likely the logic behind the salary cap to begin with: cap the top slot’s compensation and districts will maintain the trend by capping the next lower level of management.

But that never happened, even for top-level central office administrators who, unlike principals, aren’t unionized. 

The Ledger article cites Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, who “said the state's salary cap ‘absolutely’ continues to harm school districts. Bozza said New York school recruiters tell him the cap is a ‘blessing for them’ because they can scoop up superintendents who flee the state to avoid the cap.”