Ex-school officials sue state over retirement deals

A group of former school administrators is suing New Jersey for blocking their retirement packages in a state-wide crackdown on contracts.

One of the plaintiffs is the former Keansburg school superintendent Barbara Trzeskowski, who was scheduled to retire in May with a $740,000 golden parachute.

But the state went to court in an attempt to block Trzeskowski?s deal. It also passed new rules, limiting payout and giving counties the jurisdiction to overturn oversized contracts.

The retired administrators, including Hoboken Superintendent Patrick Gagliardi, who received $600,000 when he left his post, say the new rules violate their rights and take away benefits that were included in their contracts.

Their attorney, Stephen Edelstein, says his clients have been unjustly singled out.

?The special regulations that apply to them and limit their benefits apply to a group of about 1,400, but don't apply to more than 120,000 teachers and building administrators and other professionals,? Edelstein says.

A spokesperson for Gov. Jon Corzine (D) says he supports efforts ?to bring transparency, accountability and strong oversight to the contracts negotiated by local school boards."

According to a recent state report, more than $36 million of New Jersey taxpayers? money will go toward retirement packages of school superintendents. And 30 of them will get six-figure payouts.

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