The State of New Jersey Office of Administrative Law has ruled against raising the $177,500 salary of West New York Superintendent of Schools Clara Brito Herrera, who blamed the result on Gov. Chris Christie.
After Hudson County View asked about the decision at Wednesday’s board of education meeting, Herrera responded “our governor does not know how to recognize the talents of superintendents.”
“And that is why we’re losing our high quality of superintendents of schools. But I decided that I wanted to stay in my town and take that pay cut. I decided to do that, regardless of what the decision was going to be, I will not leave this town or my five-year contract for any reason in the world because my job is not done here yet.”
As we first reported last year, Herrera filed a four-page complaint with the state Department of Education to rule on whether or not a tenured superintendent can have her salary reduced upon promotion.
Working as an assistant superintendent during the 2014-2015, Herrera earned a salary of $190,587, according to the complaint.
In Administrative Law Judge Leland McGee’s 15-page decision, rendered on August 31 and mailed out on September 1, he said that her tenure rights were never violated since she accepted a new position.
“Here, Herrera claims that reducing her salary to the maximum salary amounts for superintendents in West New York School District violated her tenure rights that she accrued as an Assistant Superintendent,” he wrote.
“However, the Board did not reduce Herrera’s compensation as an Assistant Superintendent. Instead, Herrera’s compensation was reduced when she took the job as Superintendent. The salary of a superintendent is governed by the standards set by the Commissioner, which include the maximum salary cap.”
The state Legislature voted to cap school superintendents at $177,500 back in 2011.
Herrera added that her goal is to put the West New York school district “on the map of the State New Jersey,” stating that school programs are becoming competitive again.