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N.J. Special Ed School Leaders May Face Salary Cap

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, proposed in July placing a salary cap on the school superintendents in the state, indicating through a spokesman that the salaries have gotten out of hand. From an article in the Newark Star-Ledger:

Gov. Chris Christie today said he wants to limit pay for school superintendents and other administrators based on district size, cutting back salaries for those who already make more than the max, and introduce merit-based bonuses.

The proposal would mean pay cuts for 366 superintendents at the end of their contracts, saving school districts $9.8 million, the governor said.

Apparently more than 50 superintendents make more than $200,000; Gov. Christie wants to change the law so that no superintendent can earn more than $175,000, which happens to be his own salary.

But it's unclear whether a cap would apply to the leaders of private schools that provide special education services to New Jersey students. The governor's office would like the same caps to apply, though: more than 60 leaders of the state's private special education schools are earning more than $175,000, according to a recent article on the situation:

Pay levels at special private schools are controlled by the state because most of the money the schools make is from tuition paid by public schools that send students.

For the 2009-10 school year, the Education Department capped compensation for administrators at private special-education schools at $215,000 no matter how many students attended.

"I don't know how we could justify salaries of $215,000 or more for superintendents or CEOs of schools with 500 or less students," said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak, "even considering those are special-needs students—not when we're applying a salary cap significantly lower for superintendents [of] public school districts with multiples of that number of students."

In this economic climate, Gov. Christie may have found an issue everyone can agree on—unless you're a school superintendent.

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