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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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To the extent that the contract did not have the appropriate public input, I think a board member may properly cast a "no" vote to express disapproval of the contract extension on the ground that the contract was not being extended pursuant to proper rules.

Posted on: 2010/7/19 14:23
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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What's unfortunate is that Sean Connors is not up for re-election next year. He doesn't have a clue as to what he is doing now that Jerry is off the board. Hell, he has never seen a political office he didn't want to run for. Everyone knows he thinks this is one more step for him to be mayor (what a joke).

Posted on: 2010/7/18 15:01
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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Quote:

DanL wrote:
That said - it is pretty clear that the majority of the BoE want to extend the contract and the public hearing (if the first vote is invalidated) is unlikely to change the outcome.


I'm surprised you'd say that, Dan. You only have to go back to last September to find an instance where an elected body was shamed into doing the right thing - City Council's decision to enact redeveloper pay-to-play restrictions following the embarrassment of the arrests in July. The more attention that is focused on this, both on a local and state level, the harder politically it becomes for that majority to remain entrenched in their position.

That said, I agree wholeheartedly with your comment on the prospects for affecting real change in nine months.

Posted on: 2010/7/16 21:50
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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Which is why the Healy scumteam was soooooo very eager to push his contract through ahead of this move. I'm sure Epps will, in turn, be handing off some $ to the mayor's legal fund. arrrggghhhh. frickin aggravating.

Posted on: 2010/7/16 21:44
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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July 15, 2010 - The Christie Tool Kit: Putting Children First By Cutting Out-of-Classroom Costs

For Immediate Release: Contact: Michael Drewniak
Date: Thursday, July 15, 2010 609-777-2600

The Christie Reform Agenda: Cutting Costs and Directing Dollars to the Classroom

The Christie Reform Agenda includes a comprehensive tool kit to provide municipalities and school districts the necessary reform measures that will allow them to keep costs low and fund priority services. The Governor's latest reform proposal caps education administrator pay and puts an end to abuses in the system.

This action has the potential to save almost $9.8 million and help ensure that the maximum amount of education funding stays in the classroom. On average, superintendents' salaries have risen over twice the rate of inflation - a nearly 46 percent increase since 2001. This is a higher increase than teacher compensation or overall education spending. The ultimate cost to New Jersey taxpayers is over $100 million.

The Christie proposal will cut out-of-classroom costs by capping school administrators' salaries and reforming how they are paid.

Bringing Salaries In-Line with District DemandsThe Christie proposal brings superintendent salaries in line with district needs. Right now, superintendents in districts with over 1,000 students earn an average of $192,764, while superintendents in districts with fewer than 1,000 students earn an average of $152,764.

These salaries are out of proportion with the private sector, current economic realities and district demands. Under the current proposal, the base pay of superintendents would be capped according to a sliding scale that takes into account the student enrollment of the district(s) overseen, with an increment of $5,000 for each additional district served by a single superintendent, and an increment of $2,500 if the district(s) include(s) at least one high school.

Student Enrollment of District(s) Maximum
0 - 250 $120,000
251 - 750 $135,000
751 - 1,500 $150,000
1,501 - 3,000 $165,000
3,001 - 10,000 $175,000
Over 10,000 *

* Superintendent compensation in the sixteen districts with student enrollment over 10,000 would be subject to separate rules developed by the Department of Education.


School boards would not be permitted to increase a superintendent's base pay (for example, with longevity increases) beyond these salary caps. Additionally, no superintendent contract that includes a compensation package above these salary caps could be extended; at its expiration, the new compensation package of the superintendent would need to conform to this new policy.

According to New Jersey Department of Education data, 366 school superintendents currently earn more than the new salary cap would permit.

As with all elements of superintendent contracts, the Executive County Superintendents would review and approve superintendent salaries to ensure that they adhere to this policy.

An Estimated $9.8 Million in Savings Means More Money in the Classroom

Based on current salaries, 70 percent of superintendents currently earn above the proposed salary cap, costing school districts a total of $9.8 million.

Ultimately, nearly two-thirds of the potential savings would come from six counties: Bergen ($2.2 million), Morris ($1.2 million), Monmouth ($700,000), Middlesex ($700,000), Passaic ($650,000) and Essex ($650,000).

Rewarding Success: Individual Year Incentives for PerformanceFor all new contracts, upon attainment of pre-determined milestones, school districts will be able to provide superintendents a non-pensionable, individual year merit stipend, awarded on the basis of the school district's year-to-year progress relative to specific performance metrics of student learning. The following state guidelines would apply to this opportunity:

The Department of Education would provide school boards with a list of state-approved quantitative and qualitative merit criteria;
With Executive County Superintendent approval, boards would be permitted to add to this list one district-requested merit criterion;
Boards would choose 3 quantitative and 2 qualitative merit criteria from this list;
Executive County Superintendents would assemble the quantitative and qualitative performance data that forms the basis of a district superintendent's performance evaluation relative to these merit criteria;
Districts would reward superintendents with an individual year merit stipend equal to 3.33% of base for each quantitative performance criterion achieved and 2.5% of base for each qualitative performance criterion achieved in a given year.

Posted on: 2010/7/16 20:37
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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DanL said:
I agree with Mack and Waterman that it is time to turn the page and bring in new leadership. However, whether a violation of the law or just the spirit of the law, Mack and Waterman by voting may also be subject to the ethics code complaint/violation and petition of appeal. Lester made the "right" decision by refusing to vote (abstaining). The public hearing must be held to legal requirements. Even if the board members are (already) firm in their position, anyone accepting the responsibility of serving the public takes on the obligation of remaining open to the idea that there could be comment or information presented by the public that could influence or impact their vote. That said - it is pretty clear that the majority of the BoE want to extend the contract and the public hearing (if the first vote is invalidated) is unlikely to change the outcome. Those forward thinking board members and the public (us) should be looking to improve accountability (and performance) by ensuring that clear and meaningful benchmarks are in place of any superintendent contact. public anger and frustration is understandable. we must move in a new direction. board of education elections are only 9 months away. Vote!


I agree with everything you say here, Dan, except for the suggestion that Sterling Waterman and Sue Mack might be subject to ethics complaints, as well. Carol Lester, Sterling and Sue were all put in a difficult position with this vote and there is absolutely no legal or ethical problem with voting against the illegal and unethical Epps contract extension.

They are all on the same side and there is no reason to try to drive a wedge between them. Nobody is slamming Carol for her abstention even if many would have preferred that she had voted 'no'.

Let's stay focused on the real issue and lever every chance we have to affect the upcoming votes of the BoE and STOP THE ILLEGAL EXTENSION OF EPPS CONTRACT. Once the dust clears and April is upon us again, we can work together to elect BoE members who are more like Carol, Sue and Sterling.

Posted on: 2010/7/16 14:20
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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I agree with Mack and Waterman that it is time to turn the page and bring in new leadership. However, whether a violation of the law or just the spirit of the law, Mack and Waterman by voting may also be subject to the ethics code complaint/violation and petition of appeal. Lester made the "right" decision by refusing to vote (abstaining).

The public hearing must be held to legal requirements. Even if the board members are (already) firm in their position, anyone accepting the responsibility of serving the public takes on the obligation of remaining open to the idea that there could be comment or information presented by the public that could influence or impact their vote.

That said - it is pretty clear that the majority of the BoE want to extend the contract and the public hearing (if the first vote is invalidated) is unlikely to change the outcome. Those forward thinking board members and the public (us) should be looking to improve accountability (and performance) by ensuring that clear and meaningful benchmarks are in place of any superintendent contact.

public anger and frustration is understandable. we must move in a new direction. board of education elections are only 9 months away.

Vote!

Posted on: 2010/7/16 13:47
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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Jersey City group filing complaint with state Ed Dept. to overturn contract extension for superintendent

Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 2:57 PM
Ken Thorbourne/The Jersey Journal

A group led by Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop is filing today a "verified petition of appeal" with the state Department of Education in hopes of overturning the two-year contract extension Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. was granted by the Board of Education last month.

On June 21, members of the Jersey City Board of Education voted 6-2-1 to grant Epps a two-year extension on his contract, which expires next year.

Longtime board member Sue Mack and newcomer Sterling Waterman voted against the extension, while Carol Lester -- who ran on a Fulop-backed slate with Waterman in April -- abstained.

After the vote, Waterman filed an ethics complaint with the state School Ethics Commission arguing that according to state laws, the public had to be notified about the meeting 30 days in advance. An announcement about the June 21 meeting ran in The Jersey Journal on June 18.

Board officials responded that Waterman is misinterpreting the law, which only calls for the 30 days notice if the contract is going to voted on. They point out that terms of the two-year extension still have to be negotiated and the public will have its say on the final deal at a public hearing.

In addition to Waterman's ethics violation, Fulop launched an on-line petition campaign to force state officials to overturn the contract extension vote.

The formal petitioners for the appeal to be filed today include Board of Education candidate/parent Anthony Sharperson, education activist Shelley Skinner, School 27 parent Elvin Dominci, and Fulop.

"We are going to keep the pressure on the Jersey Board of Education. The appeal will give the Commissioner the ability to decide on the board's willful attempt to disenfranchise the public," Skinner said in a statement today.

"Hopefully the vote is reversed. The law is very clear on this matter. This is about insuring that parents and residents have an opportunity to be part of the process and decide if we are doing the best we can for our students." Skinner added.

Epps didn't immediately return a phone call to comment.

A spokesman with the state Department of Education said the agency has yet to receive the petition of appeal, which would trigger a quasi-judicial process that could take several months.

Fulop said the petition is being delivered in Trenton some time today, noting that the City Council voted today to endorse a resolution calling for the circumstances of the extention to be reviewed.

Superintendent since 2000, Epps earns roughly $270,000 a year.

He is credited with establishing early childhood education in the district and improving test scores in the early grades.

But the vast majority of schools in the 29,000-student district have stubbornly failed to meet federal educational benchmarks year after year.

Posted on: 2010/7/15 5:37
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Re: Dr. Epps Contract Extended
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DanL wrote:
this might have been a non-issue had people come out to vote or supported different candidates in the 2009 BoE elections at the level they did this past spring. regardless of the outcome, this can change with the 2011 BoE election.


Maybe Dan, but it appears like it was a well planned sandbag that made it look like the rehire was now a fait accompli that couldn't be opposed due to the terms of the contract.

I'm struck by the similarity to the way they stuck it to Fulop on his signatures for the ballot initiative. somehow in both cases a city official gave an elected official incorrect information that resulted in the clock being run out on their initiative. Can't argue with success, huh?

Posted on: 2010/7/12 2:38
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Re: Dr. Epps Contract Extended
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this might have been a non-issue had people come out to vote or supported different candidates in the 2009 BoE elections at the level they did this past spring. regardless of the outcome, this can change with the 2011 BoE election.

Posted on: 2010/7/12 2:10
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Re: Dr. Epps Contract Extended
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timeforchange wrote:
Actually, I hear that this special mtg for the BOE starts at 6pm. Curious as to when the public will get to speak.


Update from Waterman:

346 Claremont Ave, 6th fl conf rm @ 6pm.

Know one knows "when the public will get to speak". It comes when it comes which is why they need you there.

Posted on: 2010/7/12 0:27
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Re: Dr. Epps Contract Extended
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Actually, I hear that this special mtg for the BOE starts at 6pm. Curious as to when the public will get to speak.

Posted on: 2010/7/11 17:44
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Re: Dr. Epps Contract Extended
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The public hearing is on Aug 11 on Epps contract extension. They must not be expecting many people because the location is a conference room in the administration bldg. Let’s show them they made a mistake.

The administration bldg is located at 346 Claremont Ave, right off of JFK blvd. I believe the time is 6:30 (i will confirm). At this special hearing, the public will get their opportunity to comment on the extension and terms of Epp’s new contract.

Sterling Waterman
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
(NOTE Please take a minute to sign this petition located at http://www.rrupt.com/software2/customer/stevenfulop/survey/BOE.php and forward to all your friends in Jersey City. You should determine who will manage this $619 million budget and you should demand results.)

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Ms_Taggart wrote:
Below is an email message I received from Councilman Fulop on this issue:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

I am disheartened to see, all too often, that the decisions being made in Jersey City are based purely off of politics, which clearly has an adverse affect on our schools and our taxes.

Please take a minute to sign the petition to have the Governor and Education Commissioner overturn the Board of Education's illegal vote to extend the superintendent's contract. We have a chance to be heard and I hope you take a second to read the below email since it has a significant impact on our city.

What happened?

On June 22, the Jersey City Board of Education voted to extend the current Jersey City Public School Superintendent’s contract to 2013. They held this vote at what was essentially a CLOSED DOOR MEETING with NO GENUINE ATTEMPT TO NOTIFY THE PUBLIC thereby making the opportunity for public participation impossible.

I am saddened by this blatant attempt to subvert the public process, and disappointed in the Board of Education for continuing to resort to status quo Jersey City politics, where big decisions that affect your schools and taxes are made to benefit the few at the expense of the many.

At the meeting it was pointed out their actions may have been illegal. New Jersey State Law 18A:11-11 mandates that:

“a board of education can not in any way take action on a superintendent’s contract unless notice is provided to the public at least 30 days prior.”

“the board [of education] must hold a public meeting and give 10 days notice of that meeting.”


Why did the Board of Education hold this meeting without proper public notification? What are they trying to hide from YOU – the taxpayer?

Here are the facts:
Superintendent Epps’ current contract is worth over $250,000 in salary and housing allowance. The current contract includes NO benchmarks, NO performance standards and NO specific reporting requirements. 35 out of 40 Jersey City schools are on the state's list of failing schools-- 14 of them for the third year or more.


What can you do?
Demand better results by signing this petition to Governor Chris Christie and Commissioner Brett Schundler asking them to overturn the vote to extend the Jersey City Public School Superintendent’s contract and to hold a national search for the best-qualified candidate.

Please take a minute to sign this petition located at http://www.rrupt.com/software2/customer/stevenfulop/survey/BOE.php and forward to all your friends in Jersey City. You should determine who will manage this $619 million budget and you should demand results.

Posted on: 2010/7/11 0:18
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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Jersey City councilman's e-mail drive calls for state scrutiny of school board vote to retain superintendent

Friday, July 09, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop is leading an effort to overturn the Jersey City Board of Education's vote to extend the contract of Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr.

Within two hours of launching the petition drive Tuesday, more than 500 e-mails had been sent to state Education Commissioner Bret Schundler and the other top officials of Gov. Chris Christie's administration. By Wednesday, over 1,500 had signed on.


The Department of Education took notice.

"The issue currently is under review by the department," DOE spokeswoman Beth Auerswald said Tuesday. "We are aware of the controversy in Jersey City and are reviewing the contract renewal to make sure proper procedures were followed."

At issue is a special meeting held June 22 at which board members voted 6-2-1 to extend Epps' contract for two years. Board Vice President Susan Mack and member Sterling Waterman voted against it. Member Carol Lester abstained.

In the April school board election, Fulop backed Waterman, Lester and member Angel Valentin, who issued a call for a nationwide search for superintendent last month, but later voted to extend Epps' contract.

Fulop said 35 of the district's 40 schools have failed to pass state standardized tests and something must be done.

"Bottom line is that if the Board of Education won't do the right thing, if they won't follow the law, and if they continue to reward failure, then the public, the council and mayor should assert itself," Fulop said.

"This affects taxes, it affects our schools and quality of life. We want to put it on Christie's and Schundler's radar screen," he added.

Epps, who has been superintendent for 10 years, released a statement through spokeswoman Paula Christen saying about the process: "All legal requirements and prerequisites were followed and will continue to be followed."

He declined to comment further on Fulop's petition drive.

Waterman has taken issue with the meeting, saying that the public should have been given 30 days notice.

But district officials, who ran an advertisement publicizing the meeting on June 18, argue that the 30 days notice only applies in cases in which a contract is going to be voted on or altered.

Public hearings will be held before a new contract is approved, district officials said.

Posted on: 2010/7/9 13:03
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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I just want to make sure I have this right, because I'm new to the state...

The gov wants to enforce budget cuts in education, inner city schools are not air conditioned, teachers still haven't seen the raises that were put into place in December (mind you, teacher provide most classroom supplies out of pocket because budget already doesn't cover), there aren't enough books to go around, there are 1st graders repeating classes for the third time..... and so on and so on.... This jerk is getting a raise!?!?!?! He should have been sitting with the teachers and students in the hot un-airconditioned summer school classes this week!

Posted on: 2010/7/9 4:20
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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this website has a list/ photos of the JC Board of Ed. they're not monsters. but, perhaps it is time for some new blood

http://www.jcboe.org/administration/board-members.aspx

Posted on: 2010/7/9 3:57
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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http://hudsonreporter.com/view/full_s ... e=up_to_the_minute_jersey

Jersey City councilman, residents up in arms over extension of superintendent's contract
Jul 08, 2010

JERSEY CITY -- A group of residents and downtown Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop are trying to get the governor and state commissioner of education to overturn a June 22 Board of Education vote to extend the contract of the superintendent of schools.

The nine-member board gave a two-year extension to the contract of Dr. Charles Epps, who was originally appointed to the position by the state since the school system has been under state takeover. However, the district has been returning to home rule over the last few years, and some residents believe Epps has not done enough to improve education in the state's second largest city.

Residents and Fulop have been circulating a petition that is addressed to Gov. Chris Christie and state Commissioner of Education Bret Schundler, a former mayor of Jersey City.

The petition says, "On June 22, the Jersey City Board of Education voted to extend the current Jersey City Public School Superintendent’s contract to 2013. They held this vote at what was essentially a CLOSED DOOR MEETING with NO GENUINE ATTEMPT TO NOTIFY THE PUBLIC. New Jersey State Law 18A:11-11 mandates that: “a board of education can not in any way take action on a superintendent’s contract unless notice is provided to the public at least 30 days prior.”

Posted on: 2010/7/9 2:53
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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[size=large'A good place to start[/size]


Published: Wednesday, July 07, 2010, 4:18 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 07, 2010, 5:26 PM

Thurman Hart

If Chris Christie wants to make a lasting impression on New Jersey politics, he's going to have to look beyond the budget and the long-standing problem of punitive property taxes. He's going to have to take on the corrupt heart of New Jersey's home-rule empowered cheats, rascals, and thieves. There's no better place to start than the Jersey City School Board.

The state has taken on - even taken over - the Jersey City Board of Education before. The reason was simple:

The order is the culmination of a state review that began in March 1984 and led to the State Education Department charging in May 1988 that Jersey City's schools were crippled by political patronage and nepotism, weak administration and management, fiscal irregularities, indifference to school repair and tolerance of poor educational achievement by its students.

That was in 1989. How much has changed since then? Well, consider this latest BOE move:

In a special meeting the Jersey City school board moved to extend Superintendent Charles Epps' contract by two years.

The board voted 6-2-1 last night to extend Epps’ contract, which expires June 30, 2011, an additional two years.

While Epps’ four-year contract doesn’t expire until 2011, the board must let him know one year in advance whether it plans to renew his contract, extend his contract or conduct a nationwide search for a new superintendent. The terms of the contract must still be negotiated and would be subject to a public hearing.


Must be nice to be sitting in Epps' seat. He gets told now that he is - most definitely - going to get a new contract. But no one has even a preliminary agreement as to how much it will cost to keep him. So he could hold out for as much as he wants because failure to bow to his demands would find the Board in breech of contract.

And it isn't like Epps is living on bread and water these days. His compensation is well over the $200,000 mark. And it isn't like Epps is trying to walk the straight and narrow - consider his tendency to patronize his employees when he was temporarily elevated to Assemblyman - despite the obvious problems that arose from his double-dipping - he couldn't even manage to pay his taxes on time while he was schlepping to London on the tax-payers' dime.

And, incidentally, since Jersey City is an Abbott District, that means it is your dime, no matter where you live in the Garden State.

Then, of course, there is the question as to whether or not Epps deserves to be re-hired. Almost any objective measurement would conclude that he doesn't.

Consider that the strongest arguments in Epps' favor are that: 1) he has a plan for "restructuring" the administration; and 2) it would cost a lot to do an adequate search for a new superintendent. You'd have to have graduated from one of Jersey City's many failed schools to swallow that BS sandwich.

Epps was appointed to his current position in 2000. If he has a plan for reorganization; then he's going to have to explain why it took ten years to come up with it. At this point, any problem that he has identified has to include the tag that he is a partner in it. He simply cannot solve his own failure of leadership.

If Epps only manages to swindle the JCBOE out of his current level of compensation for two more years, then they will have thrown away another $420,000 to keep him around. I don't know how the BOE planned to do a search that would cost more than that, but if they plan to do use the same method two years from now, when Epps' extension would expire, then it would be a little bit higher than it is today (it's a thing called "inflation"). Other than that, throwing a want-ad up on Monster.com is really pretty cheap. Hey - toss me a hundred thou and I 'll do it out of my own pocket and through the goodness of my heart!

If anyone needed a further reason for the Governor to step in, here it is: the contract extension is illegal. Consider:

[Jersey City Board of Education Member Sterling] Waterman said the meeting violates N.J.S.A. 18A:11-11, which governs public notice required for altering superintendent contracts.

The law states, “A board of education shall not renegotiate, extend, amend, or otherwise alter the terms of a contract with a superintendent of schools, assistant superintendent of schools, or school business administrator, unless notice is provided to the public at least 30 days prior to the scheduled action by the board. The board shall also hold a public hearing and shall not take any action on the matter until the hearing has been held. The board shall provide the public with at least 10 days’ notice of the public hearing.”

The BOE is claiming that, since they haven't actually negotiated the contract, they are within the terms of the law. That's an absurdity that could only be cooked up in Jersey City schools. The law actually specifies that a contract cannot be extended - and this is a contract extension.

And the law was certainly not followed:

At issue is a special meeting held June 22 where board members voted 6-2-1 to extend Epps’ contract for two years. Board Vice President Susan Mack and member Sterling Waterman voted against it. Member Carol Lester abstained.

Waterman has taken issue with the meeting saying the public wasn’t given proper notice. The district ran an add [sic] in the June 18 edition of the Jersey Journal.

Chris Christie was elected, in large part, because people believed he could shake things up. He developed a reputation as someone who was unafraid to take on the corrupt home-ruled elite whose rapacious ways have all but destroyed New Jersey's middle class. His Education Commissioner, former Jersey City mayor Brett Schundler, should have more than a passing understanding of how the JCBOE works. And they should waste no time in taking action to stop this blatant attempt to destroy the rule of law in favor of patronage.

© 2010 NJ.com. All rights reserved.

Posted on: 2010/7/8 3:22
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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Other than the additional expense to conduct a search, what are the arguments in favor of keeping Epps?

And what do some of the board members have to gain by keeping Epps? Are board members' friends and relatives employed by the school system?

Posted on: 2010/7/7 21:57
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/ ... -epps-contract-extension/



This afternoon, Ward E councilman Steven Fulop sent a message out to his supporters asking them to sign a petition asking Gov. Christie and Education Commissioner Bret Schundler to overturn the Jersey City Board of Education’s (BOE) recent vote to extend Superintendent Charles Epps’ contract by two years when it ends on June 30, 2011.

Fulop says nearly 500 people signed the petition in the first hour and a half it was online.

The petition comes in the wake of last week’s news that BOE member Sterling Waterman, who ran on a Fulop-supported slate this April, was planning to contest the vote with a state ethics complaint, saying the public was not given required notice.

“I am disheartened, outraged, and am reaching out to you for help,” the letter to Christie and Schundler reads. “I hope you will take action in Jersey City to rectify this unacceptable situation by overturning the vote to extend the contract for Dr. Epps — a vote that was made in direct conflict of the state law that requires public involvement. This is an opportunity to improve Jersey City schools and do a real national search for leadership.”

As we noted last week we noted that the state Department of Education is reviewing the contract extension; the school district has maintained it followed all the proper legal actions.

Posted on: 2010/7/7 18:30
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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Quote:

Long-time board member Sue Mack, the vice president, and newcomer Sterling Waterman voted against the contract. Carol Lester, who was elected alongside Waterman in April, abstained.

...

Angel Valentin, who ran with Waterman and Lester, called for a nationwide search earlier this year, but said yesterday he didn’t realize how costly it was.

Valentin was one of the six members to support Epps’ contract extension. He said Epps presented restructuring plan, which impressed him.

...

Board President William DeRosa, said the board planned to extend Epps for one year, but their attorney said statutorily it had to be two years. He also said he didn’t realize how costly a search was.

...

Lester, who abstained, said she wanted to extend Epps one year while a search was conducted and was caught off guard when that wasn’t an option. She said she also thought the board had more time. A prior attorney, whose contract was not renewed, told the board it only had to give Epps 90 days notice, not one year.



Quote:


ShelleySkinner wrote:

The board's decision to extend this contract by purposely side stepping the public is the height of irresponsibility. Only 50% of high school seniors were able to pass the HSPA (the high school exit exam) in 2009. Only 38% of low income 3rd graders were proficient in Language Arts. Whose interests does the JC Board of Ed, who voted yes, really have at heart here?

Shelley Skinner


Valentin voted for it and Lester abstained. I wouldn't suggest they therefore don't have the interests of the children at heart, though. I think such a suggestion is common in Hudson County, but that doesn't necessarily get us very far to declare "irresponsible behavior" is tantamount to self-interested, corrupt, or snaky behavior.

The real problem here began with a procedural failure (insufficient public notice), compounded by bad or incomplete legal advice (contractual obligations to Epps re timeframe) or at least advice to which the Board did not defer (public notice).

The actual substantive decision (extending the contract) is an unfortunate one and should be overturned for reconsideration on the basis of the procedural problem.

But whatever the result on reconsideration, that will not change the fact that Epps is and will continue to be an abject failure as a Superintendent... it simply delays the inevitable as folks jocky for position and he's out the door.

Thus, the question is when that ouster will occur considering the mayoral elections.

As I see it, this will refocus attention on the un-political process in JC and Hudson County and highlight the failures of our schools. Hell, it might even invite Bret Schundler back in to take state control. (Not sure what that could mean, though!)

So... this short-term setback will be a long-term good for the cause of change.

Posted on: 2010/7/7 12:47
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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The board's decision to extend this contract by purposely side stepping the public is the height of irresponsibility. Only 50% of high school seniors were able to pass the HSPA (the high school exit exam) in 2009. Only 38% of low income 3rd graders were proficient in Language Arts. Whose interests does the JC Board of Ed, who voted yes, really have at heart here?

Shelley Skinner

Posted on: 2010/7/7 12:07
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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I mentioned my disgust at the whole episode about Epps to a staff person at my Assemblyperson's office and they said to me, "If you don't like the politics of New Jersey, why do you live here?"

I was temporarily stunned, and then carefully restrained myself to prevent any screaming into the phone.

I was even further disgusted when I hung up.

Also, what was this about a trip to London, anyway? Was it for some dumb conference? I heard nothing about it, thank God for New Jersey 101.5, but that station doesn't come in very well up here.

Posted on: 2010/7/7 4:35
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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Playing the race card is the most ridiculous thing I've heard.

Hopefully no one gives it any kind of credence for two reasons:

1) Most importantly, the results (or lack of) of his leadership our school system speaks for itself and

2) It is hard to ignore the fact that Sterling Waterman is the person who raised this.

Posted on: 2010/7/7 2:36
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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Quote:

K-Lo wrote:
Oh, who gives a flying **** what color or gender or nationality the candidates are. We're looking for a leader and educator, not a politician, to run our schools.


+1

Posted on: 2010/7/7 1:55
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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Oh, who gives a flying **** what color or gender or nationality the candidates are. We're looking for a leader and educator, not a politician, to run our schools.

Posted on: 2010/7/6 23:54
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Re: Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Charles T. Epps Jr. $300.000.00/year
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What's frustrating is that, for one moment, someone would describe the tenure of Dr. Epps as a successful one. The grains of sand of excellence (McNair, which is rightly a great school) are on a beach of failure, and in no way excuse what is clearly a bloated, largely ineffective bureaucracy. It's so obvious that "kids" are at the bottom of the list of priorities and "adults" are at the top that it would be laughable if it were not so tragic.

Ask yourself this: why does Dr. Epps make more for approximately 30,000 students than Chancellor Joel Klein, a real paradigm breaker, makes for approximately 1.2 million?

I find this saddest of all though:

Echoing Tayari, she hinted that race might be a factor behind the move for a national search.

“There is a rumor floating around, Mr. Valentin, about who you are looking to fill the superintendent position,” Miller said. “And guess what? That person does not look like me.”


Our kids are waiting for Superman...they don't care what color he is.

D

Posted on: 2010/7/6 22:48
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Re: Dr. Epps Contract Extended
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Quote:

jcboyz wrote:
[...]

Please take a minute to sign this petition located at http://www.rrupt.com/software2/customer/ stevenfulop/survey/BOE.php and forward to all your friends in Jersey City. You should determine who will manage this $619 million budget and you should demand results.


THIS GUY NEEDS TO GO!!!! YOUR KIDS ARE NOT LEARNING!!!


Your post has a "broken link" and won't take folks to the petition. The one that Ms_Taggart posted fixes your post:

Quote:
Ms_Taggart wrote: [...]Please take a minute to sign this petition located at http://www.rrupt.com/software2/customer/stevenfulop/survey/BOE.php and forward to all your friends in Jersey City. You should determine who will manage this $619 million budget and you should demand results.

Posted on: 2010/7/6 21:00
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Re: Dr. Epps Contract Extended
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I am disheartened to see, all too often, that the decisions being made in Jersey City are based purely off of politics, which clearly has an adverse affect on our schools and our taxes.

Please take a minute to sign the petition to have the Governor and Education Commissioner overturn the Board of Education's illegal vote to extend the superintendent's contract. We have a chance to be heard and I hope you take a second to read the below email since it has a significant impact on our city.


What happened?

On June 22, the Jersey City Board of Education voted to extend the current Jersey City Public School Superintendent’s contract to 2013. They held this vote at what was essentially a CLOSED DOOR MEETING with NO GENUINE ATTEMPT TO NOTIFY THE PUBLIC thereby making the opportunity for public participation impossible.

I am saddened by this blatant attempt to subvert the public process, and disappointed in the Board of Education for continuing to resort to status quo Jersey City politics, where big decisions that affect your schools and taxes are made to benefit the few at the expense of the many.

At the meeting it was pointed out their actions may have been illegal. New Jersey State Law 18A:11-11 mandates that:

“a board of education can not in any way take action on a superintendent’s contract unless notice is provided to the public at least 30 days prior.”

“the board [of education] must hold a public meeting and give 10 days notice of that meeting.”


Why did the Board of Education hold this meeting without proper public notification? What are they trying to hide from YOU – the taxpayer?
Here are the facts:

Superintendent Epps’ current contract is worth over $250,000 in salary and housing allowance. The current contract includes NO benchmarks, NO performance standards and NO specific reporting requirements. 35 out of 40 Jersey City schools are on the state's list of failing schools-- 14 of them for the third year or more.


What can you do?
Demand better results by signing this petition to Governor Chris Christie and Commissioner Brett Schundler asking them to overturn the vote to extend the Jersey City Public School Superintendent’s contract and to hold a national search for the best-qualified candidate.

Please take a minute to sign this petition located at http://www.rrupt.com/software2/customer/ stevenfulop/survey/BOE.php and forward to all your friends in Jersey City. You should determine who will manage this $619 million budget and you should demand results.


THIS GUY NEEDS TO GO!!!! YOUR KIDS ARE NOT LEARNING!!!

Posted on: 2010/7/6 20:52
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Re: Dr. Epps Contract Extended
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Thanks for forwarding.

Somewhat amusing (or disheartening) that a plea for better education for JC itself falls prey to affect/effect confusion. I signed the petition.

Posted on: 2010/7/6 19:36
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