Salaries of N.J. school superintendents may be next on chopping block

Lisa Fleisher, Claire Heininger & Sean Esposito:

During the angry debate over teacher pay, little has been said about the higher salaries of New Jersey school administrators. On the contrary, Gov. Chris Christie praises many of them for taking wage freezes while most teachers are refusing.
Don’t expect that to last long.
“I’m sure that at some point the governor is going to push obviously with administrators as well,” said Boonton superintendent Christine Johnson, singled out by Christie for freezing her salary. “I would think that writing is on the wall.”
One reason: six-figure salaries are common among administrators, who include superintendents, assistant superintendents and principals. A Star-Ledger analysis of data from the state Department of Education for 2008-09 found:

  • The median salary for full-time school administrators in New Jersey — the salary figure that half of them exceed, and half do not — was $113,083.
  • In more than 425 districts, the median salary for an administrator was at least $100,000. Less than 2 percent of teachers — 1.6 percent — made $100,000 or more.
  • Christie’s $175,000 salary is less than the pay of 235 school administrators from 184 districts.

A 2008 report commissioned by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators found the average superintendent salary in New Jersey was $154,409, about $9,000 higher than the national average. That compared with $152,782 in New York and $146,906 in Connecticut.