When New Jersey Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy called the severance package of the retiring Keansburg, N.J., Superintendent, "an absolutely outrageous, excessive, ridiculous package to pay anyone," she didn't really mean "anyone." "Anyone" does not include high level consultants and traders, CEOs and chairmen, or partners from big firms who routinely receive these sorts of financial benefits while no one bats an eye. According to the New?? York Times, Superintendent Barbara Trzeszkowski will walk away from 38.5 years of service with $740,846--$14,449 for unused vacation days, $170,137 for unused sick days, and $556,290 in severance--plus an annual pension of $103,889.
Is this the future of merit pay? Chairman of the Keansburg school board, Joe Hazeldine, explains that Trzeszkowski was "worth every single penny she earned, if not more." In fact,
"She took Keansburg from the bottom of the Abbott districts to the top. Our college acceptance rate quadrupled. We had kids going to Ivy League schools. That doesn't just happen. How do you put a price on that?"
The responses to Trzeszkowski's contract have centered on whether or not the district's Abbott classification should come into play. Named after a NJ Supreme Court case in 1990, which identified thirty-one districts as providing an "inadequate" and "unconstitutional" education, one of the qualifying Abbott criteria is overall district poverty. Keansburg is still receiving (according to the Times) 77 percent of its budget in Abbott dollars--to the tune of $31 million.
I'll admit that a district this strapped...