School head turnover rate rises

Michael Symons | Statehouse Bureau

TRENTON — Nearly 30 percent of New Jersey school districts hired new superintendents in the last year, a larger-than-usual turnover that may have resulted from new salary caps and changes to pensions and health benefits.

The New Jersey School Boards Association reports that 170 of the 589 districts it tracks changed their top executives in 2010-11. The turnover was roughly 85 percent higher than the average over the previous nine years; no other year in the last decade topped 21 percent until last year’s 28.9 percent.

“Certainly part of it is driven by the salary caps, and part of it is likely driven by the changes in pension and health care benefits,” association spokesman Mike Yaple said. “Every public employee has to pay more. Some might find it more advantageous just to retire.”