No evidence N.J. superintendent salary cap saved districts money, researcher finds

December 10, 2018

Initially billed as a cost-cutting measure, the New Jersey superintendent salary cap failed to save money and instead resulted in a higher probability that superintendents across the state would quit, according to new research from Rutgers University.

Initially billed as a cost-cutting measure, the New Jersey superintendent salary cap failed to save money and instead resulted in a higher probability that superintendents across the state would quit, according to new research from Rutgers University.

“There’s no evidence of a reduction in costs for schools,” said Michael Hayes, an assistant professor of public policy at Rutgers-Camden, who scrutinized school district budget data from 2004 to 2014. “All we see is this negative cost in terms of higher rates of superintendent turnover as a result of the New Jersey superintendent salary cap.”

Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie instituted a cap on superintendent pay in 2011 — ranging from $125,000 to $175,000 depending on enrollment — as a belt-tightening measure amid increasingly shrinking state and local budgets. The maximum salary for a New Jersey superintendent increased with new rules in 2017, but the cap system remains in place.