A director at High Tech High School earns over $247,000, more than any county superintendent of schools besides his own boss, has a school vehicle and was eligible for a sick and vacation time payout last year – all raising questions about his compensation.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Hudson County Schools of Technology Director of Research, Planning and Evaluation Dr. Joseph Sirangelo receives a salary of $247,337.18 for the current school year, according to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request filed by Hudson County View last month.
On top of his salary, Sirangelo, a HCST employee since September 1978, earned a sick and vacation payout of $15,090 in 2016 – the first time he received such a payout since becoming a director in 2014.
Additionally, based on the same OPRA request, Sirangelo is the only one out of four directors who is assigned a school vehicle – he is also the only director who earns over $151,000 in annual salary.
Phil Swibinski, a spokesman for the HCST, said Sirangelo’s experience and credentials justified his compensation.
“Dr. Joseph Sirangelo is among the most experienced and accomplished school administrators in New Jersey and his compensation is a function of his longevity, the higher education level he has attained and the tremendous advances in public education he has helped make possible for Hudson County students,” he said.
“He has worked in public education for 47 years and has been a Hudson County Schools of Technology employee for 40 years, with most of that time spent as a school administrator.”
Swibinski added that Sirangelo has a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and two master’s degrees, one in School Administration and the other in Counseling.
He further stated that he is subject to the same salary guidelines as other school administrators and that “a very limited number of top administrators” receive school vehicles to attend events, conferences and after school programs outside the district.
He concluded that Sirangelo’s recent payout for unused vacation time will be subtracted from his leave benefit when he retires.
HCST Superintendent of Schools Frank Gargiulo, also the North Bergen Commissioner of the Department of Public Works, is the only school employee that earns more than Sirangelo with an annual salary of $264,238.
The Hudson County Schools of Technology is not subject to New Jersey’s superintendent salary cap, which would be $155,000 for an institution of their size: 2,357 students based on figures compiled by the New Jersey Department of Education.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with comment from a spokesman for the Hudson County Schools of Technology.