School Superintendent's Employment Contract Outlined

Through the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), Patch received a copy of Steven Engravalle's employment contract.

Many parents, up in arms over the amount of absences of School Superintendent Steven Engravalle since his return from his leave of absence on January 2, have raised questions at Board of Education meetings regarding the terms of his contract.

Concerned parents and members of the community have filled meetings questioning his compensation, paid time off and other benefits as agreed to by the Board of Education and laid out in his contract. The Board's reply? They cannot discuss personnel issues in public.

Through the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), Patch has received a copy of Engravalle's employment contract, to shed light on the terms of his employment. The contract, approved by the Fort Lee Board of Education and signed by former Board President Arthur Levine and Robert M. Gilmartin, Executive County Superintendent of Schools.  

Engravalle's three-year contract is effective for the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015. The contract sets his annual base salary at $167,500 for the term of the contract.

The contract also states that he is eligible for "additional merit increases" beyond his base salary. The contract bases "merit increases" on the Superintendent's progress toward achieving goals set forth by the board. (Patch is requesting a copy of these goals, as they are not defined within the text of the contract.)

The contract states that the merit increase for achievement of "each quantitative merit criterion shall be 3.33 percent of the base salary and 2.5 percent of the annual salary for each qualitative merit criterion achieved." 

According to the terms of the contract, this merit increase "shall not exceed 14.99 percent or $25,109 per year."

Regarding benefits, Engravalle's contact grants him 27 paid vacation days annually. The contract allows him to carry any unused vacation time forward. Board approval is required for any vacation longer than five days. Additionally, he receives 16 paid holidays and 12 paid sick days. 

The contract also states "the Superintendent shall be entitled to leave, without pay deduction, in the amount and on such terms as determined in the discretion of the board in lieu of emergency and/or personal leave." In other words, unlimited paid leave--at the Board's discretion.

The contract also calls for an annual evaluation of Engravalle's performance by the Board at least once a year, "on or before April 1." The contract specifies that in the event the Board determines that the performance of the Superintendent is "unsatisfactory in any respect," it shall detail in writing specific instances of unsatisfactory performance and include recommendations for improvement.

The contract contains these provisions for termination:

  • Mutual agreement
  • Unilateral termination by the Superintendent
  • Prior to the expiration of the contract, in the event of non-renewal of contract, the Board agrees it shall not unilaterally relieve the Superintendent of his duties during the term of the contract.
  • Proceedings pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A: 17-1 which deals with removal during terms of office which essentially says that he shall not be dismissed, suspended or have his compensation reduced except for neglect, misbehavior and other offenses.
  • In the event of a disability where the Superintendent's ability to return to work is affected, the Board can require that the Superintendent submit to a medical exam, at the expense of the Board.

Members of the Board will not comment on Engravalle's contract or confirm or deny any action regarding his employment that they may, or may not, be considering.

In an email requesting clarification on some of the provisions of Engravalle's contract, Board President Jimmy Park responded, "Please accept my sincere apologies for not being able to offer any comment on this matter at this point in time."

Stay tuned to Patch for continuing updates to this story as it unfolds.


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The Thorn February 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Where is that fat bastard governor to put an ax to this contract like he did to the police/fire and teachers?
Thomas A Bennett February 27, 2013 at 11:50 AM
Instead of paraphrasing segments of the contract, as you did, why don't you post the contract in its entirelty. Since it is a public document no harm no foul. Why is the patch tip-toeing around this issue? take a stance for once.
Quint February 27, 2013 at 02:37 PM
I thought journalists were to be impartial, taking a stance isn't done. Attaching it as a downloadable pdf would be nice.
Me Watchin You February 27, 2013 at 04:20 PM
More political, back room, BS, corrupt deals
Frank Collura February 27, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Looks like the employment contract was written by the superintendent's lawyer and approved by the board with no thought or review. (3 years? no requirement to show up each day or to attend board meetings? Reimbursement for multiday/overnight and/or nationwide school superintendent junkets and associated executive expense account type charges for travel, attendence, meals and hotel (hotel room bar and hotel room TV charges, included?)) This guy can't be fired, even if he borrows a school generator or snow plow, parks it in front of his house, tells no one, then goes on a Florida vacation during a blizzard. (search the web and see what settlement agreement was worked out with Westfield $150,000/year plus school superintendent boy scout).
Stefanie Stuart February 28, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Mr. Engravalle was appointed by a different board to the one we have now. Four of the nine-member Board that approved his contract, are no longer on the Board. Furthermore, the lawyer that represented the Board in this contract is also no longer working for the Board – they have hired a new firm. I believe the current Board is entitled to the benefit of the doubt as they have inherited this situation. That being said, I hope that they are putting the new guy through his paces to find a way to either get Mr. Engravalle to fulfill the totality of his contractual obligations, or to get us out of this mess so we can have a leader that is going to set the ship right and plot a course for the future. I am incredibly grateful for the hard work of the administrators, teachers and staff that have actually kept everything running despite this debacle.
Jack B Goode March 01, 2013 at 02:44 AM
Christie capped school Supers salary at $167,000, didnt they tell you that when you went to left wing reeducation school?
Patrick Won March 01, 2013 at 04:03 AM
contract or no contract you can be fired for not doing your job. The board just needs to document everything and bring charges up against him.
Genesis Liu March 02, 2013 at 04:34 AM
The Board's reply? They cannot discuss personnel issues in public. Kidding me... Since when does a public organization with a public board in a public school system conducting public board meetings are private? hahahah, We are having these type of troubles here in Hackensack. A Board member got arrested for beating up is baby's mother, law suits flipping and flopping all over the place, negative news in the papers. OH BOY DO WE NEED SOME HELP!!!!


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