West New York superintendent asks state DOE to rule on $177k salary


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. 

Clara Brito Herrera

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 impending 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.

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  1. Relevant question.
    Is our (W.N.Y.) school system currently state certified by D.O.E.? If so, since when? If not name the last time frame it was and who was the School Superintendent during certification

    If our school system is not up to code and up to snuff for our children, do these people deserve a raise? And, then what kind of character do they have if our system is not up to code and not up to qualification, to demand more money and neglect or ignore the necessary improvements and changes for state qualification?

    Point being-children first… $ later..especially when you’re making past $150,000.00. I would you ask the mayor, the Board of Commissioners and the board of education elective. What is the biggest asset in the town of West York ? Because it is not the (GOLD COAST – DIAMOND )waterfront. IT IS OUR CHILDREN…..

  2. In what universe do you accept a job knowing the salary guidelines, and less than 6 months later decide that it’s not enough. Maybe she should resign and go back to being the assistant superintendent for her old salary. Was this her plan all along? She didn’t have to accept the position. Does she not have to abide by the state guidelines? Why is she so special? It’s shameful, and all at the taxpayers expense. But look who she’s associated with, a two time indicted man who sacrifices his own son. Good luck to all of you in WNY. your going to need it.

    • Didn’t she apply for the position? The complaint claims that it was offered to her, but Hudson County View reported on May 14, 2015 that she applied for the position along with several other people. The complaint makes it sound as if she was asked to take the job without applying for it. Nothing like trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

      So she applies for the job knowing what the salary limitation is, she accepts the job when it is offered to her, she signs a contract agreeing to what her salary will be, then sues for more money.
      Only in West New York

  3. All the comments made in response to this article are right on the money, she applied for the position fully aware of the salary guidelines . if she was only interested in the money she shouldn’t have applied for the job. Now she sues , and probably wants the taxpayers to pay her legal fees. she should pay her own legal fees if she loses the case. this is a good example to teach our children straight from the person that should set the example. It proves she never should have been hired in the first place

  4. She took the job to hire and promote her family and friends. It was not about money at first, it was revenge and since some of it she could not do she now wants more money now.

  5. Clara believes she’s worthy of this additional money because she does felix and silvios bidding at the BOE and on the Planning Board. After all the bogus hirings, curriculum cancellations and many many planning board applications passed because she gave the nod, that’s the least Felix and Silvio can do… Is pay their friend, your tax dollars! You don’t really think she’s worthy of either position do you? Wake up people. She will sue, win and then split the proceeds with them.

  6. I guess she balanced her books and realized power and nepotism will not buy a pair of Jimmy Choos.
    The state will not side with one superintendent from historically corrupt Hudson County-she signed on the dotted line and must live with it.

  7. Clara Herrera was a terrible teacher until she befriended the first lady of wny Mrs sires what a disgrace watch what happens start buying tickets for Albio we live in squalor and they live great Roque Albio Clara perfect together

  8. The assistant superintendent position she had before she applied to be superintendent was created for her after she served as Roque’s campaign treasurer. It was an unnecessary position and a disgraceful waste of taxpayers money. Everybody knows that. And now she wants more.
    She’s not satisfied with having a yet another position that she doesn’t deserve. Typical Roque crony.

    If she wants more money let her go back to her old job.

  9. Roque is not only going to bankrupt the town but the Boe as well. Even his own puppet is suing the boe. How ironic is it that she will end up causing her own demise. Stay tuned for more fun folks, this is not over. Cronies cronies cronies. How dare any of them say it’s about the kids.