For the first time, the Verona Board of Education has approved a bonus for a school superintendent.
At its meeting on Tuesday, June 18, the BOE approved a payment of $16,082.85 to Steven A. Forte, who has been in charge of the district since December 2011, for meeting five merit goals for the 2012-2013 school year.
In November 2010, Gov. Chris Christie unveiled a plan to cap salaries of public school superintendents according to the size of the school district. “By bringing superintendent salaries in-line with district needs, we will be able to save millions in tax dollars and put that money back where it belongs – in the classrooms,” the governor said at the time. But the plan also allowed districts to pay their administrators a bonus based on specific achievements. The bonus is a percentage of the individual’s salary and, while the district sets the merit goals, they must be submitted to the Essex County Superintendent for approval.
Forte said at the meeting that the first goal was to increase revenue from outside sources by $75,000 and that he actually brought in $107,493. The second goal was to maintain a zero increase in administrative costs per pupil. Forte said that, because two secretarial positions were eliminated, Verona’s cost per pupil fell to $1,370 from $1,404.
The creation of a new five-year strategic plan, which the BOE approved Tuesday, was also a goal, as was the creation of a dual-enrollment program that allows Verona High School students to earn college credits before graduation. Sixty-two VHS students participated in the first year of the dual-enrollment program and Forte has signed Bergen Community College, Seton Hall, NJIT, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Caldwell College and Syracuse University to partner with Verona on the classes. The final goal was for Verona to show a decrease of 3 percentage points in students who are partially proficient on NJASK. The BOE approved the achievement of the merit goals event though the results of the NJASK will not be available until August.
Forte’s base salary for the 2012-2013 school year was $151,725. His salary next year will be $154,760 and $157,500 in the final year of his contract, which expires June 30, 2015.
BOE members Glenn Elliott and Michael Unis are currently developing Forte’s goals for 2013-2014 goals. They should be ready for the full board review at its July 30 meeting.