njasa logoNEW JERSEY ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

Press Release: For Immediate Release

 

 
          • Richard Bozza, Ed.D., Executive Director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, is available to discuss the results of NJASA vs. Bret Schundler, Commissioner of Education, and Paula T. Dow, Attorney General.
 
 

 

Court upholds NJASA position on several contract issues

 

TRENTON, N.J. Aug. 6, 2010 — School administrators successfully challenged portions of regulations designed to limit compensation of school administrators, announced the New Jersey Association of School Administrators. In the case decided on Aug. 3, 2010, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, rejected the general claim that the regulations were unconstitutional but agreed with the NJASA on several key points.

 

The case, NJASA vs. Bret Schundler, Commissioner of Education, and Paula T. Dow, Attorney General, was originally filed in 2008 to challenge certain regulations adopted by then Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy and Attorney General Anne Milgram. The named defendants of the case, which was argued on March 2, 2010, and decided on Aug. 3, 2010, were updated to the current commissioner and attorney general.

 

The regulations, titled “Fiscal Accountability, Efficiency and Budgeting Procedures,” were initially adopted in 2008 in an effort to provide a new funding formula for state aid. Their purpose was to ensure financial accountability of boards of education and adequate resources to meet New Jersey constitution’s mandate for a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for all children. The NJASA filed suit on the grounds that the regulations changed contractual agreements already in place, which the association believed was unconstitutional.

 

“These were regulations that improperly reduced compensation for superintendents, assistant superintendents and business administrators,” said Richard Bozza, Ed.D., executive director of the NJASA. “We filed a lawsuit to protect our members’ vested rights.”

 

As a result of NJASA’s arguments, the state appeals court:

 

  • Upheld the integrity of protections afforded by current contracts in place.
  • Agreed that “compensation” encompasses more than the amount printed on a salary check and should include the overall benefits package.
  • Concurred that sick leave payment is not reduced to a maximum of $15,000 if the individual has already exceeded that amount. Future accumulation, however, may be capped.
  • Confirmed that the “per diem” rate of pay cannot be reduced for a tenured individual or during the term of a contract.
  • Determined that assistant superintendents who have achieved lifetime tenure will not lose other forms of compensation in place prior to the regulations, including FICA payments and disability insurance premiums.

 

“In sum, we uphold the authority of the Commissioner in adopting these regulations,” stated the court opinion. “We find, however that N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-3.1(e) (3), (4), (5), (6) improperly serve to deprive certain administrators of vested rights and to reduce the compensation of tenured assistant superintendents.”

 

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