Cinnaminson Superintendent Takes $70K Pay Cut to Stay

'I gave my word that I would not leave ... and that’s what I’m going to do,' says Superintendent Salvatore Illuzzi.

Cinnaminson Superintendent Salvatore Illuzzi will take a significant cut in salary to keep his job for at least the next 3 years.
Cinnaminson Superintendent Salvatore Illuzzi will take a significant cut in salary to keep his job for at least the next 3 years.

Cinnaminson Superintendent Salvatore Illuzzi will take a $70,000 pay cut to stick with the school district for at least the next three years.

While Illuzzi’s current contract doesn’t expire until June 30, a new agreement has already been “informally approved,” he said Wednesday. The board of education will formally approve the new contract at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

According to Illuzzi, the three-year agreement will keep him in Cinnaminson through June 30, 2017, at a salary of $157,500.

Based on the salary caps on superintendent pay imposed by Gov. Christie three years ago, superintendents of districts with between 1,501-3,000 students—Cinnaminson’s enrollment was 2,356 at the start of the 2013-14 school year—can only earn up to $155,000 annually, with an additional stipend of $2,500 if their district includes a high school.

Under the terms of his present contract—which was adopted prior to the salary caps taking effect—Illuzzi has been earning approximately $225,000, he said.

A number of superintendents across New Jersey elected to retire or seek employment elsewhere after the caps were imposed. Illuzzi, who has led the district for 15 years (the second-longest tenure in Burlington County), said he decided to remain at Cinnaminson, in part, because of an earlier vow he made not to leave the district while it was in the midst of completing its capital projects.

The district was approved at the end of last year for $6.5 million of state aid for capital projects that include major improvements to the high school, as well as renovations to the other three schools. A bond referendum is slated for Sept. 30, according to Illuzzi.

“The board reminded me that I said I would not leave,” he said. “I gave my word that I would not leave ... and that’s what I’m going to do.”

He said the board was intent on “solidifying the leadership of the district” as early as possible this year.

“This is an excellent school district,” added Illuzzi, who has been in education for 46 years. “You’d be foolish to give this up if you don’t really need or want to.”
Mike January 08, 2014 at 04:31 PM
It's about time. This is the first sign of illuzzi being a good person in my opinion. Attended Cinnaminson schools k-12and always thought of him as a greedy person. He put on a good act but in reality did nothing but teacher observations. Bum.
Mike January 08, 2014 at 07:02 PM
Him choosing to keep his job after getting a $70,000 pay cut? Yeah I think that does say something Pundit. He could of left and gotten another job like a lot of other superintendents did in this state.
Billy Pilgrim January 08, 2014 at 08:03 PM
I have met Dr. Illuzzi many times. My opinion (which is worthless!) is he is a very nice man that truly cares about the job. I think it is a lousy job that he does his absolute best to do well. He cares for the students, teachers, and district like an administrator should. Having said that, I think that the county should have 5 or so administrators tops. There are far too many administrators for Burlington County. Does each and every community with a school really, really need an administrator? This just goes back to the sharing of services that I think towns should seriously consider. Dr. Illuzzi? Thank you for sticking with us as we move forward.
Billy Pilgrim January 08, 2014 at 08:08 PM
Also, I feel that the way in which public funds are doled out are flawed. It appears that no one is rewarded for being responsible with our money. If we ask for $40M but only actually need $34M, next year a district or entity is rewarded for shrewdness with less money. It would be nice if a panel of some sort could evaluate whether a district achieved that savings through "extraordinary measures" (or some other similar verbiage), and were not punished with less money next year. It would at least not be a disincentive to save money. The use it or lose it system in play rewards nobody.
Alison Perry January 09, 2014 at 09:43 AM
So, is the Township still giving him a stipend since he doesn't have health insurance thru them? Also, I wonder if the State would have anything to say about a district our size having 2 Assistant Superintendents? Why do we need 2 Assistants?
cathy Bray January 09, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Personally I did the happy dance right down Woodhaven Drive when Christie capped the salaries. Having worked for big blue for 28 years, as a top performer, I was lucky to get a 2% pay increase every 4 years. Back in 90's I had all the same bennies as government works and the NJTU. 100% medical benefits - no co pay, could carry my vacation from year to year, unlimited paid sick days - 6% increase every yr. Those benefits were all lost 20 years ago! Its about time my tax dollars are spent in a manner that is consistent with the current economic situation. Dr. Illuzzio was lucky to have the option to take a pay cut. Those of us employed by corporation America don't have that option. We just get laid off. Hey at 157K I'd the job!
John January 09, 2014 at 12:10 PM
Well guys we can do nothing about it, we just have to shake our heads and wonder whats next....I wonder how much of our taxes are from the schools, get ready we have a new school addition coming, wow can hardly wait...
Brian N January 09, 2014 at 01:10 PM
I think the schools are one if the most important things we can pay taxes towards. The rub is getting that money used smartly and responsibly. If that is done right, a good school system can raise property values. Sure you pay more taxes but you also get more equity.
John January 09, 2014 at 01:28 PM
I think U live in la la land, since when does a school system have any effect on taxes, the only thing it does is cost more to live in any town....How many houses are vacant in this town using your logic we should have zero vacant....
Brian N January 09, 2014 at 01:39 PM
Improve the schools, homes will be in higher demand. Higher demand drives up values. Simple.
Brian N January 09, 2014 at 02:28 PM
I don't work for the government or the school system, I just value a good education and am willing to pay to live where my kids will get it. Simple.
Billy Pilgrim January 09, 2014 at 02:48 PM
I agree with Brian N to a large extent. Young families moving to Cinnaminson to raise their children in this district is a strong component of who we are. To devalue our schools would put us down the road to being no different than any number of nearby communities. We are not some of our more affluent neighbors, nor do we share their tax burden. For my money, Cinnaminson represents the sweet spot of nice community, good/very good school system, and a constant stream of young families looking to camp out while their children go through the school system. Brian N also mentioned, and it might have gotten lost but I will echo it, throwing money at the school is foolish. Spending the right amount for the appropriate things is key. Anybody in favor of wasting our tax dollars needs to be shown the door. That's another thing I like about our town. Nobody is wealthy enough to just brush off wasted money. I don't think I could stand to live in a place where that is just sort of accepted.
Brian N January 09, 2014 at 03:00 PM
Pundit, I think you missed my original point. The schools must spend the money responsibly to build a good school system. Throwing high taxes at a school system that wastes money is no good. I'd be the first one complaining about that. The best is a happy median: taxes may be a little higher, but the schools and other aspects of the town draw people and keep values up. Of course if you don't have kids or you feel the schools are being wasteful, then you would feel our taxes are too high. But I think Cinnaminson does a pretty good job for my money. Just my opinion which obviously doesn't count for anything.
that guy January 09, 2014 at 03:14 PM
When I went to school, Cinnaminson had some of the most Doctorates (? if im using that correctly) for teachers in the county if not south jersey. But that really did not add value to the school like you would think. Not many people even knew that fact and it was very hard to research. We paid for those people to expand thier education, and it doesnt pay back like it should. I believe Cinnaminson was also the second highest in the county in starting salaries for fresh teachers. To me, these are things that we dont need to be pouring money into without the good return. I am glad that illuzzi took the cut and stuck with it, but I would really like to see that money saved well and not wasted. If anything, keep the tax payer burdens low and dont start new projects (other than completely grant funded) with this money. I played icehockey under Cinnaminson Hockey Club for years. We represented the high school, but had no help financially, and gladly paid the 1100 for the season. Take that into consideration for the other sports when times are tough, not waste this money.
Brian N January 09, 2014 at 03:22 PM
Isn't the whole idea of public schools that the public all chip in? I guess you would have to look at the ratio of homes with families compared to homes without in town to determine what is more desirable. I would think young families are the largest group of people looking for homes, and they put the school system near the top of their wish list. But I don't have any study to back that up. In the end it's all a balancing act anyway. You can't please every one all of the time.
Brian N January 09, 2014 at 03:32 PM
Pundit, of course not, but that's part of how our society works. Do you think I love chipping in for your Social Security that I will never get to see myself? Of course not, but every one chips in to help. If you don't have kids, you are always free to move to a town with a crummy school system and pay less taxes.
Brian N January 09, 2014 at 03:53 PM
I agree with your points there Pundit, but, I am not of the opinion that our taxes are too high. I feel you get what you pay for to live in this town, whether you have kids or not it's a good value for a great place to live. I guess that's the root of our disagreement.
Billy Pilgrim January 09, 2014 at 04:09 PM
Pundit, I don't think a town full of mostly young families and a severely strained school system is the thing I'm looking for. Nor do I think a town of mostly senior citizens with a poorly suited school system is the answer. If that is what one is looking for, there are communities that can fit the bill. I think Cinnaminson has been a town where younger families strive to move to better their kids. I do not have any sense of reasons senior citizens choose to move/stay here. You are very correct in stating that we need to have them do so. I feel that no community is complete when it focuses on just one segment. Letting one area go to pot to keep another happy is not. What makes one person's argument of taxing to better the school system superior to another person's argument of not taxing for the school system to ease the burden on those that don't utilize the service? Other than perspective, so long as it is responsible spending to the betterment of the whole community both ends of the spectrum need the other. Without the school system and its tax demands young families would move out and need to be replaced by old and/or family less households. All the time. Without those households that do not use the system, but contribute towards it, the town would be overwhelmed by children. The right mix is what we need, and what we have going. Just so long as the money is not being thrown away. That's all. Like most problems, it's not A or B it's some other thing that is somewhere in the middle but accounts for all concerns.
Brian N January 09, 2014 at 04:13 PM
Pundit, I think in a round about way we both agree we want the same thing: sensible taxes and our money spent wisely! :-)
Ross Chatham January 10, 2014 at 07:48 AM
Some people will never be happy.
John January 10, 2014 at 10:46 AM
And some people just like to stir up trouble....I would like to see a study on young families and senior citizens done to provide information on the subject, maybe the people that are in power will do that, after all we get to see other things like working from home, ave price etc....No matter whats coming our way we have to do it together ok.....
Lori B Wood January 12, 2014 at 12:08 PM
I think it says alot about Sal. First of all, he could have left, gotten a job in the private sector or even retired and kept his pension. But that being said, I work for a different Board of Ed and I got 0% raise, for 3 years then 1%. With the raise in minimun wage I now make less than I did 4 years ago. I can barely make my bills now. (I have no credit cards, no real debt). 200 Thou a year? 70? I'd take either!!
Elisa Rooney January 12, 2014 at 07:01 PM
It's a disgrace that a man who has been working in the district for so long and working so hard can only make $155,000 a year. His job is extremely stressful and every detail of what goes on in the district is laid on his doorstep. How many of you are directly responsible for the future of 2,500 people?
Brian N January 12, 2014 at 10:35 PM
I sense sarcasm...
John January 13, 2014 at 09:46 PM
Hey guys, the President of the United States only gets $200,000 a year plus free medical and plane fare...So, its his choice to live on $155,000....He can retire....
Ross Chatham January 14, 2014 at 09:26 AM
Most members of congress have other sources of income are were all ready financially well off before entering public service for one thing. Add to all this the ability to charge speaking fees, book tours, lobbying bucks after you leave elected office... if anyone of them don't end up raking in over a million per year I'd be pretty shocked. I'd much rather pay a guy where you know what you're getting and who isn't looking to leave or been asked to leave the district every 2 years like has been happening in Moorestown. For all the credit we seem to give them, they can't keep their administration in place to save their lives.
Ross Chatham January 14, 2014 at 10:04 AM
He could have easily retired and collected a pension like he originally planed to do. Pre-housing crisis his salary wasn't that out of line considering how much a home used to cost you in this part of the country.
John January 14, 2014 at 11:01 AM
This is a joke right, Illuzzi lives in Pa and does not pay our high taxes right or am I wrong about this....Does not matter, we get the shaft no matter what is put into the chatting on the Patch.
Ross Chatham January 14, 2014 at 11:21 AM
to John, I think it's a fair venture to say in a town like Wallingford with a median income of $86,059 he's paying for more in taxes than you or anyone else is in Cinna. And I also doubt he's voting against his own town's school budgets and ballot initiatives. but that's besides the broader point I agree. and Pundit, perhaps you could take your concerns about the Dare program to the police department with their fancy DARE car they take around town if you have concerns about it. Just my suggestion. I'm not sure how a new superintendent would matter if that's the program the department wants to provide.
Barb Rivera January 14, 2014 at 10:54 PM
@Ross You are 100% wrong! Average real estate taxes are $3,640 in Wallingford PA! I am sure 90% of Cinnaminson pays more than that!


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