Keansburg’s Board of Education voted last week to suspend the $741,000 severance package it planned to give its Superintendent of Schools, Barbara Trzeszkowski, until litigation filed by the State Attorney General to void the agreement is resolved. Keansburg, however, opted to remain a plaintiff in litigation it brought, along with the other “Abbott” districts in New Jersey, to contest the State’s new school-funding formula. Keansburg and the other districts allege in that case that the new school-funding formula will deprive it of the $4.3 billion in special aid they receive from the State.
The Board’s attorney, Richard Shapiro, recommended that Keansburg opt out of the school funding case, given the public relations nightmare surrounding Ms. Trzeszkowski’s severance package. The Board did not follow that recommendation.
From a legal point of view, the severance package issue does not appear to be relevant to the constitutional challenge at the center of the school funding litigation. However, from a moral point of view, Keansburg’s position is untenable. Keansburg’s conduct, including negotiating and signing off on a $741,000 severance package for an administrator (while its students attend classes in trailers, mind you), and the conduct of other free-spending Abbott districts necessitated the school funding reform law. Keansburg can’t credibly complain about the law’s “unfairness” now.