As part of his efforts to reform public school systems in New Jersey and apply resources more directly to students, Governor Chris Christie pushed through a landmark bill that would cap salaries of administrators based on the number of students within each system. However, the law doesn’t take effect until February, and one district decided to act now in order to secure a salary almost $50,000 a year above the cap for its superintendent, LeRoy Seitz. Christie blasted Seitz as “the new poster boy” of public-sector greed (via Cubachi):
The Parsippany Board of Education voted 6-2 tonight to renew the contract for district schools Superintendent LeRoy Seitz, just hours after Gov. Chris Christie called the contract greedy and arrogant because it would exceed the proposed pay cap for superintendents.
The board voted to extend Seitz’s contract, which expires July 1, by another five years, paying him an average annual salary of $225,064. The contract was approved by the Executive Morris County Superintendent Kathleen Serafino on Friday, according to board attorney Mark Tabkin. …
While the governor’s proposed cap doesn’t take effect until February, the administration has been quick to criticize districts that are trying to circumvent the cap by renewing or approving new contracts.
In July, Christie proposed a superintendent salary cap. Under the proposed regulation, superintendents’ pay would be directly proportional to the number of students enrolled in the district. The new regulation would have capped Seitz’s salary at $175,000.
Christie calls this “the definition of greed and arrogance” — and warned that Parsippany’s school board won’t get the last word on this matter. The contract has to be approved by the county, apparently, and Christie announced his intention to speak loudly and often to ensure that the approval never arrives. It gives Christie an almost-perfect anecdote to use in demonstration of arrogance within the public school system and its intent to torpedo the reforms demanded by the duly elected legislature and governor.
But there’s another reason for Christie to make an example out of Seitz. Had this gone unnoticed, every school board in the state would have tried gaming the system in exactly the same manner, hoping to outmaneuver Christie and the legislature. Christie makes it clear that he will fight back hard against the establishment if they attempt to work around his reforms, and that lesson will not be lost on those who prefer anonymity in that regard.