Casagrande’s bill will thwart “Piggish” school superintendents

Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande, left, and Mary Pat Angelini, in Long Branch this morning for Mayor Schneider's endorsement of Gov Christie

Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande, left, and Mary Pat Angelini, in Long Branch this morning for Mayor Schneider’s endorsement of Gov Christie

While touring  Oakwood School, a non-profit, non-sectarian New Jersey Private School for the Disabled that serves adolescents with Asperger/Autism in Tinton Falls last March, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande learned that the school’s enrollment had declined after the State instituted its cap on school superintendents’ salaries.

One of the exceptions to the superintendents’ salary cap are bonuses awarded for academic excellence. An administrator at Oakwood tipped Casagrande to the notion that superintendents could be keeping special needs students in their schools, to the academic and social detriment of the special needs and ‘normal’ students, in order to snag those $25,000 bonuses.

Freehold Regional High School District earned unwelcome notoriety for its largess with its previous superintendent, the phony Doctor H. James Wasser.  Wasser’s replacement Charles Sampson, has a clause in his contract rewarding him for reducing the number of special needs students assigned to out-of-district schools like Oakwood, according to a December 2012 article in the News Transcript, a weekly newspaper serving Colts Neck, Englishtown, Freehold Borough and Township, Manalapan and Marlboro.

While not specifically pointing any fingers, Casagrande sees the potential for superintendents to put their bonuses, or ‘merit pay’ above the educational needs of special needs students, as it would be less expensive to warehouse a student with Autism in a classroom with an aide, than to enroll them in appropriate schools. She told MMM that she put herself in the shoes of parent already fighting for a special needs student and being confronted with an additional obstacle, a superintendent with a financial incentive to withhold the best educational opportunities.

Casagrande introduced Assembly bill # 3997 in early April.  The bill prohibits school boards from paying superintendents bonuses for reducing the number of out-of-district placements of students with special needs.   Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) is the bill’s co-sponsor.

A3997 unanimously cleared the Assembly Education Committee last week.  It is scheduled to be voted on by the entire Assembly on Thursday.


Posted: June 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Assembly Republicans, Caroline Casagrande, Education | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

13 Comments on “Casagrande’s bill will thwart “Piggish” school superintendents”

  1. Good Article Art said at 6:06 pm on June 17th, 2013:

    I congratulated Carolyn on this matter. It’s time to end the superintendent’s in the various school districts in this state from having a financial stake to the detriment of special needs students and regular students.

    I think the legislature should just discontinue this “merit pay,” since it seems to circumvent the salary caps installed by the governor.

    Jim Sage

  2. Curious George said at 7:12 pm on June 17th, 2013:

    This whole merit pay procedure is a loaded boondogle for sup’ts & school boards to work around the salary caps. It’s not just issues pertaining to keeping special ed kids in the district to save money but other provisions which should be part of the sup’ts. job description. If the sup’t has certain ideas to improve the district then let him impliment them. If they work, that’s great. When his or her contract is up, then reward them with a job well done and a new contract…But to award them a 15% bonus each year for doing what they’re hired to do in the first place is crazy in these unsure economic times.

  3. And Then There Is REAL Fraud said at 7:51 pm on June 17th, 2013:


  4. Bob English said at 10:05 pm on June 17th, 2013:

    Just out of curriosity does anyone know of any districts in Monmouth County where the provision mentioned (reduce the number of out of district special needs students) is in included in a Superintendents contract?

  5. @Bob English said at 7:01 am on June 18th, 2013:

    The story plainly states FRHSD has the Special Ed reduction clause it in its Superintendent Contract.

  6. Bob English said at 7:37 am on June 18th, 2013:

    @Bob English…missed it…thanks for pointing that out

  7. SenseCommon said at 10:36 am on June 18th, 2013:

    Another great bill. You cannot take kids out of the best situation for them just because you have a monetary motive. Great work!

  8. These "Merit Goals" Came into Existence since the Governor Capped Supt. Salaries said at 3:09 pm on June 18th, 2013:

    They should abolish these so-called “Merit Goals,” afterall , if you read them, it’s what a superintendent gets paid for anyway–It’s his job, and in their respective contracts!

  9. TR said at 11:56 am on June 19th, 2013:

    So the government acting like the private sector and giving people incentives for meeting goals is a good thing…. except when it isn’t.

    If Superintendents are piggish isn’t the remedy for the voters to vote out the Board of Ed. who negotiated the contract.

    So democracy is a good thing… except when it isn’t.

  10. SenseCommone said at 1:08 pm on June 19th, 2013:

    @TR….except we aren’t talking about businesses cost-benefit analysis ratios, they are talking about children being placed in a school that may not be the best location for their needs due to a district needing to increase its numbers.

    So, in actuality, by allowing this to occur, you are penalizing a child for having special needs in order to meet a “financial goal.”

  11. TR said at 6:23 pm on June 19th, 2013:

    Most of these kids can be adequately educated by their home districts with a little work and in many cases it can be done cheaper. It is however more work for the school district.
    Additionally it is hard work to convince litigious parents that there kid does not need a 60 grand a year special school. That is about what every out of district placement costs.
    Special education is one of the biggest scams ever and it probably accounts for 5 to 10 percent of your total property tax bill.

  12. Jim Sage is two faced, said at 9:43 pm on June 19th, 2013:

    First, things first, the article spells her name correctly yet you can’t in your fake praise. You have disparaged the Assemblywoman many times in person and in writing. Now you applaud. Stop being a know it all and a voice on every subject. And more importantly before you whine over not getting a job at the county why don’t you learn to spell.
    You probably didn’t get the job because you spelled the name of your interviewer incorrectly.

  13. SenseCommon said at 10:24 am on June 20th, 2013:

    @TR…actually that is not true. A majority of these students cannot not gain the attentiveness of educators who do not specialize in direct special needs care and cannot gain the same environmental benefits of a need specific program or school.

    The fact that you can make a comment like that relates that you do not know anything or anyone with special needs. I am not talking about ADD, but emotionally, mentally, and physically disabled students who greatly benefit from these out-of-district schools.

    So either do more research or move along.