Cherry Hill Superintendent‘s salary boosted in new contract

Superintendent Joe Meloche’s new contract includes a base salary that goes up to the new maximum permitted according to amendments approved for New Jersey’s superintendent salary cap last year.

A new contract for Cherry Hill Public Schools Superintendent Joe Meloche includes a salary increase up to the maximum allowed under New Jersey’s superintendent cap regulations.

On Jan. 9, the Cherry Hill Board of Education approved a resolution rescinding Meloche’s previous five-year contract, which was slated to expire in 2020, and replacing it with a new, five-year contract. The Sun received details on Meloche’s contract after filing an Open Public Records Act request.

Meloche’s new contract runs retroactively from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2022, and includes an annual base salary of $196,584. This is more than a 10 percent increase over Meloche’s previous salary. Meloche previously made $177,500 per year.

The new contract comes less than a year after amendments were approved to New Jersey’s superintendent salary cap regulations. Previously, superintendents in districts with 6,501 or more students could make a maximum of $175,000 per year. Districts with 10,000 or more students, such as Cherry Hill, could approve a superintendent salary higher than that mark, but only with the approval of waiver from the state Commissioner of Education.

Under the revised regulations, the maximum permitted salary for a district with 6,501 or more students is $191,584. Superintendents who work in a school district with a high school are also eligible to receive an additional $5,000 in base salary.

Meloche’s salary will remain at $196,584 through the 2019–20 school year. For the 2020–21 and 2021–22 school year, he will receive a 2 percent increase each year. Changes in cap regulations now allow superintendents who are making the maximum possible salary to receive an annual 2 percent raise if they accept a new contract in the same district they already serve. The raises will bump Meloche’s salary up to $200,415.68 for the 2020–21 school year and $204,323.99 for the 2021–22 school year.

Meloche’s contract also includes possible merit bonuses. According to the contract, the board and superintendent can mutually decide on up to three quantitative merit criteria and up to two qualitative merit criteria per year. The merit criteria must be submitted and approved by the executive county superintendent. Meloche can receive a merit bonus of 3.33 percent his base salary for each quantitative merit criteria achieved and 2.5 percent his base salary for each qualitative merit criteria achieved.

On Jan. 9, the Cherry Hill Board of Education approved the new contract by a vote of 7–1, with board member Edward Wang voting against the motion. Board president J. Barry Dickinson was absent from the meeting.

Prior to the vote, board member Kathy Judge said the board wanted to have Meloche leading the district through its planned bond referendum later this year and the rest of the work under its newly approved Cherry Hill 2020 Clear Vision for the Future plan.

“We have the best of the best right here in Cherry Hill and we do not want to lose him,” Judge said.

Two residents also spoke at the meeting, with Brian Everett voicing his support for a new contract for Meloche, while Miriam Stern questioned why the board was extending Meloche’s contract well before his original contract expired.

Meloche’s contract took effect immediately upon approval, with the new salary taking effect retroactive to July 1.