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NJ Superintendent Shortage To Get Worse Before It Gets Better [AUDIO]

It’s no secret that New Jersey school districts are facing a shortage of administrators, but, a recent report by the New Jersey School Boards Association finds that the situation will only get worse before it gets better.

Camden High School
Camden High School (www.camdenhs.org)

In 2011, Governor Christie implemented salary caps for superintendents. For schools with up to 250 students, the salary is capped at $125,000. The maximum allowed is $175,000 for a district with 6,501 to 10,000 students.

One of the problems is the candidates applying for the positions.

“Districts are still getting candidates, but they’re not getting the candidates with the kind of deep experience that districts like to see,” said Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators. “There’s a lot of frustration and a lot of discussion about leaving the state. Even the younger candidates are concerned that with the salary caps now in place, they may never get raises when people around them are earning more.”

Many school districts are seeing more frequent turnover in the top leadership spot.

“We know from research that high turnover in the superintendent position is not good. The reason we’ll see more turnover is because people will be seeking positions where they can increase their compensation which means they may be going from smaller to larger districts, they may leave to take other opportunities or they may go back to the job they had before becoming superintendent. The last thing a Board of Education wants to see is a constant revolving door.”

Many Superintendents are nearing retirement age and as their contracts come to an end and the new salary caps apply, they either retire or look for employment in a nearby state.

“We also see young people who decide they’ve made the wrong career choice and they start looking for a field with more compensation or at least for a position where they have the opportunity to make more than the people who report to them,” said Dr. Bozza. “In some of the small school districts, the superintendent also takes on the role as principal and fills in in other spots. If they were in a district with two schools, they could actually earn more as a principal.”

It’s common for educators to work their way up the ladder of their particular district with their eyes on eventually taking over the superintendent position.

“If those people are in a position where they’re going to have to take a loss in compensation, there really is no incentive to take on a position with increased responsibility,” said Dr. Bozza.

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