City Has More High-Paid Workers Than School Board

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ELIZABETH – City Council members have been critical of public spending for Elizabeth’s school system, with some going so far as to campaign against the school budget this year, but evidence suggests that the Board of Education has been more frugal than City Hall.

A review of 2009 salaries showed that 150 of 1,178 city employees are paid in excess of $100,000, while just 133 of the Elizabeth public school system’s 4,131 workers have six-figure salaries. That’s 13 percent of the municipal workforce compared to just three percent of the educational employees.

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The median salary for the school system’s nearly 2,000 teachers is $59,979 — just 68 percent of the  $87,548 average amount paid to Elizabeth police and firefighters, whose salaries are decided by the City Council.

Six of those teachers have PhDs and 765 of them earned masters degrees. There is no listing of information on police or firefighter qualifications, but either job requires only a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Two of the school employees with six-figure incomes are members of the City Council. Frank Cuesta made $132,192 as the principal of Nicholas Murray Butler School No. 23, while Edward Jackus earned $125,758 as a physical education supervisor.

Despite his glee over the voters’ rejection of the school spending plan, Jackus is among nearly 400 people who received layoff notices as a result of the governing body’s stated intent to cut workers.

Despite Gov. Chris Christie’s rhetoric against public workers, private sector employees average 11 percent more in wages and five percent more in total compensation than public workers with the same education level, experience and work schedule, according to a Rutgers University study.

Private sector workers with bachelor’s degrees earned an average of $89,041, compared to $56,641 for public sector workers, according to the latest federal data.

Public workers with less education are better off than their private sector counterparts, according to the Rutgers study. While public workers without a high school diploma averaged $41,000 in total compensation, the same private sector workers only averaged $27,719.

Among those with diplomas, public and private sector employees both averaged $44,000.


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  • aem910

    “A review of 2009 salaries showed that 150 of 1,178 city employees are paid in excess of $100,000, while just 133 of the Elizabeth public school systems 4,131 workers have six-figure salaries. That is 13 percent of the municipal workforce compared to just three percent of the educational employees.”

    Wow, an article on njtoday that I actually semi-agree with! Municipal employees are definitely overpaid. Two wrongs don’t make a right, however, and this in no way justifies the overpaid administrators who work for the EBOE. The fact remains that our Superintendent makes over $250,000.00, while the State Commissioner of Education, who is responsible for all 591 school districts in the state, makes only $141,000.00. And while most district have one assistant superintendent, Elizabeth has four of them, each making over $150,000.00.

    “The median salary for the school systems nearly 2,000 teachers is $59,979 — just 68 percent of the $87,548 average amount paid to Elizabeth police and firefighters, whose salaries are decided by the City Council. Six of those teachers have PhDs and 765 of them earned masters degrees. There is no listing of information on police or firefighter qualifications, but either job requires only a high school diploma or the equivalent.”

    I completely agree that cops and firemen are overpaid. A PhD or Masters level teacher should absolutely be better compensated than a GED cop or fireman. The City Council should be held fully accountable for this wasteful spending.

    “Despite Gov. Chris Christies rhetoric against public workers, private sector employees average 11 percent more in wages and five percent more in total compensation than public workers with the same education level, experience and work schedule, according to a Rutgers University study.”

    How about focusing on just the benefits? There are virtually no private employees who still have a pension. Why is it so outrageous to have them actually save for their own retirement like the rest of us must do? And what about those sweet health benefits? Why can’t they contribute a similar percentage towards their health insurance as private sector employees?

    In any case, taxpayers do not pay the salaries of private sector employees. So the fact that private sector employees average higher wages has nothing to do with Gov. Christie’s push to rein in spending on public employee compensation. The fact remains: NJ is broke and we need to cut spending. We already have the highest property taxes in the country. Not one of the highest, THEE highest. We cannot continue to tax our way out of this mess. We finally have a governor willing to make the tough decisions and cut spending.