SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Board of Education is set to vote on the superintendent’s contract with a 13% raise, at their meeting on Monday night.
While the current contract is not due to expire until July 2020, in August Rossi told the board president, vice president and Personnel Committee chair in a letter that he wanted to “renew the contract and enter into a new contract on or before November 1, 2019.”
The proposed new contract will give Michael Rossi a $24,500 raise, moving his salary from $167,500 to $192,000. The nearly 13% raise will go even higher with bonuses. Board president Kelly McEvoy said, “The salary was adjusted to reflect what he (Rossi) was requesting."
If approved, the new terms would take effect immediately, raising his salary within the 2019 – 2020 budget set last spring.
Under the proposed contract Rossi would get another 2% raise “beginning July 1, 2020 and each July thereafter,” according to the contract.
Rossi will also be eligible for 11.66% of his base salary as a merit bonus. This represents an additional $22,387 for the 2019-2020 school year.
Other changes to the contract include one year notification of non-renewal, a significant increase from the current contract. Under the current agreement the board is required to give notice by March 11, 2020 just under four months from the end of the current contract.
Current statute N.J.S.A. 18A:17-20.1 Reappointment of Superintendent says, “… notification shall be given prior to the expiration of the first or any subsequent contract by a length of time equal to 30 days for each year in the term of the current contract.” In other words, the statute requires one month notice for every year of the contract.
The superintendent is only required to give 90 notice of his resignation.
According to Sparta Board of Education President Kelly McEvoy, the board members were given a chance to discuss the proposed contract in executive session at the September meeting. She said no one asked for any changes to be made to the terms of the contract in that meeting or after.
McEvoy also said the board members did not have input in establishing parameters of the terms of the contract before it was negotiated. She said attorney John Comegno negotiated for the board, even though Rod Hara usually negotiates contracts for the Sparta Board of Education. McEvoy said she did not know why it was Comegno and not Hara.
Rossi and Comegno have a long history of working together. Comegno was the school board attorney at Lopatcong Township School District when Rossi was superintendent in 2007. Comegno was one of the attorneys listed for Madison School District when Rossi was superintendent in 2016.
At the September meeting Comegno said he was brought on about a year ago as “special counsel for the benefit of the board as needed.” At the June 3 reorganization meeting Comegno was approved as board attorney along with Fogerty and Hara.
The board meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on October 28 at the Mohawk Avenue School.