BARNEGAT, NJ – While his contract isn’t set to expire, Barnegat Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Latwis has asked the Board of Education to revisit it and renegotiate a new five-year contract. In a letter directed to the Barnegat community, Latwis acknowledged his request and his commitment to the district. Board members will vote on the newly negotiated terms at their May meeting.
Five years ago, Latwis joined the Barnegat school district as the Director of Special Education. In 2018, he was voted in as the Superintendent of Schools. According to Latwis, he believes that his “administration and the Board of Education have a commitment to improvements on all fronts - improving our facilities, expanding opportunities for our students, and providing the most complete, relevant, and rigorous education for our students.”
“We have taken on an aggressive agenda to make improvements in all areas within the last two years,” shared Latwis.
The list of changes Latwis submitted in support of his request is quite lengthy. It starts with enhancements in the way both students and teachers are supported. During his tenure, Latwis has also headed up several asset investments and focused on student safety.
“I am very proud of several indicators of success since I’ve been in this role,” Latwis said. “For example, we achieved NJDOE compliance and were removed from the Department of Special Education oversight – after passing with a perfect score.”
Barnegat’s AP scores are the highest in the county, and the state report card shows marked improvement in the 3 of the 4 elementary schools.
Earlier this year, Latwis received board approval to reconfigure the district to a grade banding model with instructional coaches. The choice between redistricting and grade banding was a highly contested issue.
According to state public employee records, Latwis is the lowest paid superintendent of schools for a K-12 district in Ocean County at $159,556 annually. The chart below shows that other district heads that make less than Latwis have populations between 70 and 500 students.
“The Board of Education Negotiations Committee concluded negotiations several weeks ago with Dr. Latwis,” shared Board of Education President Michael Hickey. “We agreed on a five-year contract that would terminate in July 2025.”
Per state requirements, the proposed contract was submitted to the Executive County Superintendent for review and received verbal approval. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the renegotiated contract before the board votes in May.
Under the new contract, Latwis will receive a one-time salary increase of $5000. He will also receive a 2.5% raise per year. When his contract ends in 2025, Latwis is scheduled to earn an annual salary of $187,938.
“If the Board approves the contract, it will represent our deep commitment to the students and staff of the district by providing stability as the broad-sweeping changes initiated during the past two years come to fruition,” Hickey stated. “Most importantly, it will keep the district moving towards our five-year strategic plan and vision of becoming the best district in the county.”
“Our goal is to become one of the top districts in New Jersey as far as student achievement, student experience, and fiscal responsibility,” continued the board president.
Richard Quelch acknowledged that he could not comment on the proposed contract change on behalf of the Board of Education. However, he did speak as a concerned parent with a child in the school district.
“We’re in the middle of a pandemic and should be most worried about children and students,” Quelch shared. “Besides, a number of families have been uplifted as a result of the reconfiguration. As a parent, I’d rather see how it works before the board makes any decisions on new contracts.”