Teaching Profession

Jumbo Payout Gets Fierce N.J. Backlash

By Mary C. Breaden — June 10, 2008 1 min read

The retirement package was generous, to say the least: more than $500,000 to the longtime superintendent of a New Jersey school district that was deemed to have “special needs” by the state department of education because it has so many low-income students.

The repercussions continue, as state officials from Gov. Jon Corzine on down demand to know about the payout by the Keansburg school district—and to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen elsewhere.

At the center of the controversy is Barbara Trzeszkowski, who served for nearly 40 years as the head of the 1,800-student Keansburg district. When she leaves the four-school district June 30, Ms. Trzeszkowski is to receive a $556,000 severance package and an additional $185,000 for years of unused sick and vacation time under the terms of her contract. Her current salary is $173,000.

The package touched a nerve in New Jersey, where legislators last year passed a law setting limits on excessive spending.

Gov. Corzine, a Democrat, issued a statement condemning the bonus as “contrary to any reasonable public policy.”

Late last month, state Attorney General Ann Milgrim and Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy sued to void the severance package, though not the vacation or sick-leave time. Ms. Davy also vowed to review the contracts of all the state’s 560 district superintendents.

Neither Ms. Trzeszkowski nor Keansburg school officials responded to a request for comment from Education Week.

The New Jersey Department of Education already has been seeking greater accountability for what it sees as excessive spending, said Kathryn Forsyth, the department’s director of public information.

Commissioner Davy has asked the 6,500-student Plainfield district to rewrite the contract of its new superintendent, for example.

But Ms. Forsyth does not expect the statewide review to take very long or to turn up situations similar to Keansburg’s.

“That was the face of excessive spending and was not the norm,” she said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 11, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Opinion What Can We Do to Help the Well-Being of Teachers?
A Seat at the Table focused on the social-emotional well-being of teachers during the pandemic. Here's what we learned from the guests.
1 min read
Sera   FCG
Shutterstock
Teaching Profession Nearly 9 in 10 Teachers Willing to Work in Schools Once Vaccinated, Survey Finds
Nearly half of educators who belong to the National Education Association have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site set up for teachers and school staff in Reading, Pa., on March 15.
Matt Rourke/AP
Teaching Profession Q&A Nation's Top Teachers Discuss the Post-Pandemic Future of the Profession
Despite the difficulties this school year brought, the four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award say they're hopeful.
11 min read
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
Courtesy of CCSSO
Teaching Profession Teachers Are Stressed Out, and It's Causing Some to Quit
Stress, more so than low pay, is the main reason public school teachers quit. And COVID-19 has increased the pressure.
7 min read
Image of exit doors.
pavel_balanenko/iStock/Getty