West New York Superintendent of Schools Clara Brito Herrera, who earns $177,500 a year, is asking the state Commissioner of Education to rule on whether or not a tenured assistant superintendent can have her salary reduced upon promotion.Â
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
According to a four-page complaint submitted to the state Department of Education on September 24 by Andrew Babiak, Herrera’s attorney in the matter, she holds lifetime tenure in West New York as a supervisor, principal and assistant superintendent.
Furthermore, as an assistant superintendent, Herrera earned a salary of $190,587 during the 2014-2015 school year.
With the impendingÂ retirement of Superintendent John Fauta, Herrera says in the complaint she was offered the position “in or about May 2015.”
Due to a state statute, school superintendents in New Jersey have a base salary cap of $175,000 (Herrera’s contract includes a “high school salary increment” of $2,500), though the state Senate approved a repeal of the cap back in May (via The Record).
“In the event the Salary Cap Regulations [sic] expire, are amended, and/or are determined to be invalid by a court or administrative agency of competent jurisdiction, the parties may agree to negotiate additional salary increases; or the salary may be adjusted to Article III (I) of this Agreement [sic],” according to her contract.
Nevertheless, the salary cap remains in place as of this writing.
However, Babiak argues that “by virtue of Petitioner’s [sic] lifetime tenure as an Assistant Superintendent [sic] in the school district, the Petitioner’s [sic] tenure rights were violated when her salary was reduced upon being promoted to Superintendent of Schools [sic].”
The complaint also asks for Hudson County Interim Superintendent of Schools Monica Tone to issue her a new contract for $190,587 annually.
Her current contract runs through July 1, 2020 and will receive a merit bonus of up to 3.33 percent of her salary for achieving each of three possible quantitative criteria for students, as well as up to 2.5 percent of her salary for each of two possible qualitative merit-based criteria for students.
Also worth noting is that her merit bonuses cannot total more than 14.99 percent of her annual salary.
Babiak did not return a message left with his office this morning, while State Department of Education spokesman David Saenz declined to comment since the matter is ongoing.
A copy of the complaint, which includes Herrera’s contract, can be read here.