Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

Departing Superintendent Ramos Receives $22.8K Bonus

Departing South Orange-Maplewood Superintendent of School Dr. John Ramos has received a $22,773.25 merit pay bonus as he exits the district.

The bonus (see resolution below) was approved by a 7-0 vote at the Monday, August 21 Board of Education meeting. Board member Johanna Wright recused herself from the vote as she cannot vote on personnel issues due to her daughter working in the district. Maureen Jones was absent.

Board of Education President Elizabeth Baker noted that she had received many communications from constituents questioning the bonus.

Baker explained that Ramos was hired while the superintendent salary cap instituted by Gov. Christie was still in place and that, as “was standard with superintendent compensation under the cap, there was a provision for merit pay based on state approval” in Ramos’ contract based on quantitative goals and qualitative goals. Baker said that if  “a goal was partially met, then a pro rata portion was paid.”

In a followup email, Baker noted that Ramos did not receive 100% of what could have been awarded.

Looking at the contract (see below), Ramos had a clause for merit pay of up to 14.99% of his base salary of $177,500 for a total possible bonus of $26,607.25.

Baker said that some of the questions asked how the bonus goals aligned with district goals. She said, “The board has sought counsel on this.” Baker said that counsel advised, “Merit pay goals have be to be considered as free standing.”

“The board reviews the data and then arrives at a recommendation,” said Baker. The County Superintendent then reviews and approves and sends it back to the board of education to be voted on. Baker said that she was precluded by law from talking about the specific deliberations around personnel issues. “but I can assure the public that the steps have been adhered to.”

“That’s as responsive to the question that I can come as possible given the ethical and legal constraints that we are operating under,” added Baker.
In a followup email, Baker noted that there is no merit pay in the contract for new Acting Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ficarra.

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