Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Superintendent Salary Cap Advances

Late Wednesday the Assembly introduced Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to cap superintendent salaries. The proposal (AB 6226) was introduced by the Education Committee chairwoman Cathy Nolan.
According to Bob Lowry, the deputy director of the NYS Council of School Superintendents, which opposes the proposal, the introduction in the Assembly was not a surprise. He said it was somewhat customary for the governor's bills to be introduced in each chamber. "It doesn't come as a complete surprise," said Lowry.
He acknowledged, though, that the Assembly opting to introduce this bill makes its prospects that much more realistic. "It's one more step," said Lowry. "We have no choice but to take it seriously."
When the Senate version (SB 3655) of the salary cap was introduced, Lowry's organization had this to say:
As it is now, school districts have found it increasingly difficult to get candidates to take on the job of superintendent. A cap would make it much harder.
Superintendent salaries in New York State are on par with the average for the nation, despite our state’s higher than average cost of living and overall education costs. Last year, the average superintendent salary in New York State was $163,000. The average nationally was $160,000.
The Governor had to make hard choices in putting together his proposed state budget and we respect that.
However, this proposal is a distraction from the difficulties his budget would now cause for schools and the students they serve.
The Administration estimates the proposal would save school districts $15 million. The proposed cut in School Aid is $1.5 billion, the largest ever recommended by a Governor. In fact, all central office spending by all districts does not match the size of the proposed cut in state aid to schools.
Superintendents must do what state officials do – put together budgets that balance needs against resources, in our case, balancing what students need and what taxpayers can afford. In the weeks ahead we will continue to advocate for a state budget that helps our schools strike the best balance possible.

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