SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Board of Education held a special meeting on Monday.  They approved a Merit bonus for Superintendent Dennis Tobin. 

The board voted unanimously to “certify the completion of the superintendent’s merit goals” for the 2015-2016 school year.  With the certification Tobin will be paid $25,108 above his salary, as agreed to in his contract.

Superintendents were allowed to have non-pensionable merit based bonuses included in their contracts when Governor Christie capped Superintendents’ salaries in 2011.  The bonuses must be based on “merit criteria” or goals that are approved by Dr. Rosalie Lamonte the Interim Executive County Superintendent.  

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Similarly, the board’s certification that the criteria has been met will also have to be approved by executive county superintendent. 

As required in Tobin’s contract, the goals included three quantitative and two qualitative goals, each worth a percentage of the merit bonus compensation.

The goals were:

  • To improve effective communication and trust between the superintendent, board of education and school community by providing accurate and ongoing district information.
  • To provide a standards based, comprehensive, fully articulated curriculum and academic program within our new full day kindergarten program.
  • To increase the utilization of district provided technology in the form of Google Apps for Educators.
  • To do a comprehensive district analysis and review of our current Special Education Services Departments in-district and out-of-district student services and programing.
  • To provide a positive and safe learning environment conductive to optimum learning.

In the spring of 2015 the Senate approved S1987 forbidding the state Department of Education from setting a maximum salary for school superintendents.  They pointed to the exodus of superintendents to other states from New Jersey, as well as a serving as a disincentive for assistant superintendents to move in to fill the vacancies.  The Assembly never approved the companion bill.

The salary cap ranges from $125,000 to $175,000 based on the size of the school district.  Sparta’s enrollment entitles the superintendent to a salary of $167,500 according to New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:26-2

The caps are due to sunset this November.  They will expire unless legislative action is taken to renew or amend them.