Freehold May Snatch Verona Superintendent

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Superintendent Charles Sampson, third from right, at a school food drive earlier this year.

The Freehold Regional High School District is interviewing Verona Superintendent Charles B. Sampson to head the troubled central Jersey system.

According to a report in the Asbury Park Press, Sampson, who has been in Verona since 2008, is one of only two candidates for the job. The other is Robert Gratz, the superintendent of Hackettstown. The men are vying to replace H. James Wasser, who retired in June. Two years ago, Wasser was found to have received a doctoral degree from an Alabama school deemed a “diploma mill” by that state.

Freehold Regional is comprised of six high schools, which total nearly 12,000 students. That size makes the district, which is operating at a $10 million deficit, exempt from Gov. Chris Christie’s superintendent salary cap. Sampson is currently up against the upper limit of that cap and if he stays in Verona, his compensation would have to be cut at the end of his contract and then frozen for the rest of his career.

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Sampson declined to comment for this story. But School Board President John Quattrocchi expressed frustration. “The recent rule changes from Trenton that arbitrarily limit compensation for our leaders is madness,” he said. “Only with effective and select leadership can any organization be successful. The obvious result is simple–good quality people will find opportunities elsewhere that compensates in a fair and progressive way.”

Quattrocchi, who wrote an op-ed for MyVeronaNJ this week about the havoc wreaked on Verona by state education policies, noted that Trenton’s new rules on superintendent pay will save Verona taxpayers only $2 per household per year. “By comparison, the cut to our aid from Trenton this year equated to a tax increase of approximately $260 per home per year.”

Freehold Regional expects to choose its new superintendent by the end of November. Quattrocchi says the BOE is ready for whatever that decision might be. “We are preparing for different possible outcomes and courses of action to ensure that, if there were a change in our leadership, it will be seamless and keep us on our positive progress.”

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. I have been a resident for 25 years and have to comment that we have lost superintendents in the past to larger higher paying districts before this whole idea of a cap has been raised. I understand Mr.
    Quattrocchi’s concerns about a mandated hard cap but unfortunately it is a sign of the times that the focus has been placed on the superintendent position by our governor as a way to score political points.
    Verona is always going to be at an economic disadvantage in offering salaries that match what the much larger districts can offer. What we can and I think do provide is a community that shows a great appreciation and support for quality education within the fiscal reality of what a town of this size and demographic can support.

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