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School Board Hires LeRoy Seitz As New Interim Schools Superintendent

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LeRoy Seitz of Long Branch was named interim schools Superintendent March 20 by the Board of Education.

A 40-year educational veteran – and veteran of a very public dust-up with Gov. Chris Christie – was named interim schools Superintendent March 20 by the Board of Education.

LeRoy Seitz will take over the helm on March 29, the day after current interim Superintendent Eveny Pagan leaves the district for another job.

Seitz, of Long Branch, will be paid $682 a day through the end of June. District business administrator John Calavano said the expectation is that Seitz’s contract will be renewed, but state law limits his time as a interim to two years.

Calavano said the $682 per diem translates to $177,500, the maximum that a superintendent can be paid and the same amount that Pagan was earning as interim.

In the meantime, Seitz will be a consultant to the district from March 21 to March 28, also at the $682 a day rate.

After his appointment was approved by the board, Seitz told members and the meeting audience that he was “very proud to be here, and I thank you for the opportunity.”

Franklin, he said, is an “exceptional school district and one that I am proud to be part of.”

In describing himself as an administrator, Seitz said that he is a “strong advocate of technology,” and sees “tremendous value in co-curricular programs.”

“But the most important thing,” Seitz said, “is to have an environment that is safe, open and supportive of teachers and administrators.”

Seitz was until May 2013 the schools Superintendent of the Parsippany-Troy Hills school district. It was in that position that he gained statewide notoriety.

In 2010, the Parsippany-Troy Hills Board of Education approved a five-year contract with Seitz several months before mandatory salary caps for school superintendents – implemented as a cost-savings measure by Christie – went into effect. Seitz’s new contract exceeded that cap, prompting Christie to threaten to withhold $3.6 million in state aid from the district if the board did not rescind the contract and approve a new one that conformed with the salary cap.

Christie at one time called Seitz “the new poster boy for all that’s wrong with the public school system that is being dictated by greed,” and said his contract was “the definition of greed and arrogance.”

The board eventually relented, cutting Seitz’s salary from $212,000 to then then-cap of $175,000. Seitz in 2013 requested an administrative hearing on the move and, later that year, an Administrative Law Judge dismissed his appeal, ruling that he had to repay the district $17,597 in overpayments.

Seitz had retired from the district several months before the decision.

Board president Julia Presley later in the meeting said that the board considered internal candidates and that the board “did its due diligence.”

She noted that the board looked into Seitz’s history, and, Presley said, “we hope we can give Mr. Seitz a chance.”

“We have a lot of work to do,” she said, “and we have a lot of decisions to make.”

Now that the interim Superintendent has been chosen, the board’s next task is to find a permanent superintendent.

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