In yet another pair of hand-carried resolutions that were not included in the evening’s agenda, the Board Of Education (BOE) voted on and effectively extended School Superintendent Pedro Garrido’s contract to six years.
The first of two added resolutions rescinded the superintendent’s current contract which was to expire in June of next year. The second resolution established a contract that started earlier this month and will end on June 30th of 2022. School contracts are not based on a calendar year but from July to the following June. Customarily, school superintendent contracts have been for three years.
The superintendent’s base salary jumped by $13,300 – over 8.5% – but with two (2) additional increments, Mr. Garrido’s salary will be $178,3000 for the 2018-19 school year.
In 2011, school superintendent salaries were capped based on a school district’s student population. For Roselle Park, the cap was $155,000 with an additional $2,500 for school districts with a high school. In May of last year, that cap was revised which increased the maximum for school districts like Roselle Park to $169,689. This February of this year, New Jersey Senate NJ S692 was passed which eliminated the salary cap for school superintendents. This year’s base salary would be $1,389 less than the 2017-18 salary cap.
Last year, when the maximum was amended, the school board increased Mr. Garrido’s salary to $165,000. This year’s salary is a 2% increase over last year’s amount.
The school board doubled the increase for districts with high schools from $2,500 to $5,000 and added a stipend of another $5,000 to have the school superintendent take on the duties of the ESL director which was eliminated at the June 26th BOE meeting.
…the practice of last-minute votes that approve contracts for important high-level positions has become a questionable trend.”
Although Mr. Garrido was given three (3) goals – one qualitative and two quantitative – the merit pay associated with those goals, in the amount of $14,427.00, is missing for the first year. It has been stated that this, in effect, 9% decrease in his salary is a form of disciplinary action as a result of the whole Robert Gordon tuition scandal where the relative of the school principal who lived out-of-district went to Robert Gordon without paying tuition, as agreed to in a contract, until an O
The school superintendent’s 2% annual increase is less than the so far 2.5% and 2.7% increases that the school board awarded Sue Guercio, the school district’s business administrator. Mr. Garrido’s base salary this year will be a little over $5,000 more than the $163,138.95 salary for Mrs. Guercio.
School board members – both at the meeting and in discussions – have stated that the contract was given in order to provide the superintendent time to follow through and implement his initiatives. These include the hiring of four out of five principals within the last school years.
While the extending of the school superintendent’s contract at the July 24th meeting was open to the public and even understandable, the practice of last-minute votes that approve contracts for important high-level positions has become a questionable trend. The contracts for principals of the Roselle Park Middle School, Robert Gordon, and Sherman were all done in the same manner.
The reason given for such hand-carried resolutions has been that it was handled in a closed session at the start of each respective meeting. But nothing prevents such executive session matters from being postponed to a subsequent meeting and included in an agenda for the benefit of and input from the public; the very people responsible for funding and/or being impacted by such decisions.
The particular establishing a new contract for the school superintendent is connected to previous actions by the BOE that it was not a last-minute decision. The abolishment of the ESL/Director for “reasons of administrative re-organization in the District” last month provides evidence that the school board knew that this move was pre-planned and known well in advance of the July meeting. It means that the hand-carried resolution was a strategy rather than a necessity.
Additionally, the appointing of a school superintendent for an additional role – in this case the ESL Director – has been done before with the previous school superintendent Patrick Spagnoletti who was appointed the Special Service Director during his last year of service for $5,000. These appointments save taxpayers money but the plan on how a school board will implement the hiring of such a person when the time comes has never been publicly explained.
At the July BOE meeting, both resolutions were passed by seven (7) votes. Kevin Cancino was absent from the meeting and Joseph Signorello Jr. abstained due to a legal conflict of interest. His wife works for the school district.
A copy of the latest school superintendent’s agreement – along with the previous two contracts as well as the addendum – are available below:
Download 2018-22 School Superintendent Agreement
Download RPSD School Superintendent Agreement (2016-2019)
Download RPSD School Superintendent Agreement (2013-2016)
Download RPSD School Superintendent Agreement Addendum (2017)