Since taking office in January, Governor Chris Christie has been waging an ongoing war with the New Jersey Education Association. He’s been taking aim at union leaders and school administrators. Christie has criticized union chiefs for not being willing to give back a little to ensure the state’s pension and benefits system can stay afloat. He’s attacked administrators for having bloated salaries and prior to the most recent school budget elections he urged voters to reject budgets in districts where teachers refused to take a wage freeze. Not everyone agrees with Christie when it comes to school superintendents.
Assembly members Joan Voss and Ralph R. Caputo have introduced legislation that would reinstate career tenure for school superintendents. Under the bill, the current system of contract tenure for school superintendents would be replaced with career tenure. Any superintendents currently under contract would not be eligible to begin accruing career tenure credit until the expiration of the current contract and their subsequent rehiring by the local board of education.
Voss, vice chair of the Assembly Education Committee says, “Removing lifetime tenure for superintendents has had some serious unintended consequences. Superintendents now act more like free agents, moving from district to district when their contracts expire, negotiating new deals that have led to the bloated salaries and over-inflated, lavish compensation packages taxpayers are currently forced to fund.”
“Restoring career tenure could be a quick and easy way to combat the current superintendent mentality that, no matter how good the pay under an existing contract, a future contract will always be more lucrative,” says Caputo, a retired teacher and former school administrator. “That type of thinking has to stop. It’s harmful to taxpayers, who foot the bill, and it’s harmful to students, who don’t benefit from a top administrator focused their long-term educational well being.”