NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The superintendent of schools has earned a merit bonus of almost $15,000 after achieving goals in areas such as technology-based learning and mentoring.
And he also reached another goal, Dr. Aubrey Johnson said at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting, by helping increase the scores among the district's third graders in the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), which he explained is a way to track students' reading proficiency and comprehension.
By reaching three of five established goals, Johnson will receive a $14,785.75 bonus.
As TAPinto New Brunswick previously reported, Johnson received a five-year contract starting in 2017.
He earns an annual salary of $196,000 on his contract that stretches until June 30, 2022.
Johnson explained Tuesday that merit bonuses became commonplace across the state as a way for superintendents to earn more money after a cap on their salaries was instituted in 2010. With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Phil Murphy last month signed a law eliminating the controversial cap that had been championed by former Gov. Chris Christie.
Johnson’s bonus became a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting after a Piscataway resident inquired about it.
"Those were stretch goals and the fact that 40% were not made is actually a testament to how serious we take those goals," said Dr. Dale Caldwell, vice president of the Board of Education. “We're very proud of the goals we have set for him.”
Johnson said that mentorship has been a focus of his work as superintendent and that he reached a goal by attending at least five meetings involving mentoring. He also reached a goal by infusing technology throughout the district.
In May, the school district announced that each of the district’s 2,056 students in grades six through eight (along with students in grades three through five in two district schools) were to be given one of a total shipment of 2,300 Chrome Books (model G6, featuring 11-inch displays), along with the ability to access the Internet from their homes, or anywhere else in the city, at no cost.
Johnson said he did not achieve his goal of lowering the rate of absenteeism among the 10,300 students in the district. He said the rate remained the same during the 2017-18 school year as the previous one.
He also did not reach his goal of increasing algebra scores in the district.
"I strategically make my goals tough on myself. I don't make goals like how many followers I have on Twitter or some little things," said Johnson, who began his tenure as New Brunswick superintendent of schools on July 1, 2015. "I like to really stick to what we're trying to do, what the board is charging me to do throughout the years and I will continue to do that."