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2 N.J.A.R. 199

Elmwood Park, Bergen County, Board of Education of the Borough of; Basile, Mary Ann; Berkout, Edwin Jr.; Castiglia, Paul; Dandy, Daniel; DiBello, Peter; Greenberg, Irving; Lamparello, Anthony; & Ziegler, Bruce v
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Citation: 2 N.J.A.R. 199
Decision Date: 1980
Synopsis: Eight tenured teachers employed by the Elmwood Park Board of Education appealed from the Board's denial of their annual increments. The administrative law judge found that although none of the teachers' principals had recommended that the increments be withheld, the local superintendent advised the Board that he intended to recommend withholding petitioners' increments. Acting on this recommendation, the Board voted to withhold the increments based on the fact that the teachers did not meet the peflbrmance standards of the superintendent. The judge found that the superintendent had recommended withholding these increments because 5 or more of the 28 responses on each of the teachers' evaluation forms had been checked 'needs improvement.' The judge also found that neither the teachers nor their evaluating principals were aware of such a criterion. While allowing that a board of education has the authority to withhold increments, the administrative law judge concluded that in this instance the denial of increments was arbitrary and should be set aside. The judge found that the lack of knowledge on the part of the teachers and the principals of the criterion used by the superintendent in arriving at his recommendations renders any increment denial arbitrary. The judge also found that the Board had never adopted the superintendent's criterion as part of the district's evaluation system. Accordingly, the administrative law judge ordered that the teachers be granted their increments. Saul R. Alexander, Esq., for Petitioner Stanley Turitz, Esq., for Respondent (Bartlett & Turitz, Attorneys)