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.”