JERSEY CITY – Board of Education President Sterling Waterman released a statement following Tuesday’s board vote to approve a contract with School Superintendent Charles Epps that ends Dec. 31. Waterman wrote:
The city Board of Education [Tuesday night] adopted a separation agreement for the longtime superintendent of schools, Dr. Charles T. Epps Jr., and began the process of a national search for his replacement.
By a vote of 5-to-4, the board ratified a memorandum of understanding signed late last month by Epps and Board President Sterling Waterman and approved by the Hudson County superintendent of schools and the New Jersey state commissioner of education on behalf of Gov. Chris Christie.
The agreement renews Epps’ contract for an additional six months, beginning retroactively and ending on Dec. 31.
Waterman said the board will rely on the agreement already ratified by Epps and move forward in selecting an interim superintendent and conducting a national search to replace the out-going schools chief.
“We take Dr. Epps at his word,” Waterman said. Epps attended the meeting, but did not speak publicly.
The superintendent has served without a contract since last year, when litigation by taxpayers blocked implementation of a new, three-year pact.
“Dr. Epps has led this school district forward for the last 10 years. His legacy speaks for itself,” Waterman said.
“Tonight, the Board of Education took a giant step forward for our city’s public schools. Approving a change in administration, the Board opened a door for the kind of 21st Century school system now being embraced by our neighbor, Newark, and in forward-looking cities all over America,” he added.
Jersey operates 39 public schools for 28,000 students.