Why the critics have come up short
Sep 16, 2012 | 1156 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

There has been plenty of public criticism expressed about Dr. Lyle’s recently approved school superintendent contract. The most often cited issues are: - A lack of transparency with the contract details - No performance standards/benchmarks were included in the contract - The salary is too high - A more solid termination clause is needed - A generous unused vacation day accumulation may be rolled over with over 620 public school districts present in New Jersey, there was plenty of opportunity to leverage the experience of other school districts and to find ideal contract terms to be included in our school district’s superintendent contract.

Despite much public discussion and disclosure by the Jersey City Board of Education to provide the full contract details, critics failed to provide alternative, specific, and detailed remedies that should be adopted by our school district’s superintendent contract. There is a very good reason why the critics have come up short. Dr. Lyle’s contract, its compensation and terms, are reflective of current market conditions for NJS school superintendents. An exhaustive NJS Commission of Investigation report confirms this assertion to be true (http://www.state.nj.us/sci/pdf/SCIHigherEdReport.pdf). This report, from year 2006, addresses every one of the critic’s bullet points. What is true then is still true now. Perform a Google search and you will find many other generous superintendent contracts exist today, which offer much less financial restraint than Dr. Lyle’s contract. Given the adverse, handicapped negotiation conditions, I think our school board did a commendable job with Dr. Lyle’s contract. That is when you consider the many offsetting and competing constraints they had to work with, which include a limited period, weak NJ Statutes, oversight from the Hudson County and NJ DoE offices, and public knowledge of other superintendent’s contracts, including their compensation.

Peter O'Reilly

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