Function of the County Superintendent of Schools

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Executive County Superintendent of Schools

The Somerset Executive County Superintendent and staff work with all Somerset County school districts (including one charter school) consisting of 80 public schools with approximately 55,000 students. The Executive County Superintendent represents the New Jersey Commissioner of Education in Somerset County.


The Executive County Superintendent of Schools supervises and administers the day-to-day functions of the County Office of Education as a representative of the State Commissioner of Education. The County Superintendent provides educational leadership to and general over-sight of the 19 public school districts pursuant to law and code. In the role of educational leader, the County Superintendent encourages and advances the public schools’ efforts towards implementing high quality and cost-effective school/classroom programs. Major responsibilities of the county superintendent and staff are as follows:

18A:7-8.  Each executive county superintendent shall:

  • Visit and examine from time to time all of the schools under his/her general supervision and exercise general supervision over them in accordance with the rules prescribed from time to time by the State board;
  • Keep herself/himself informed as to the management, methods of instruction and  discipline and the courses of study and textbooks in use, the condition of the  school libraries, and the condition of the real and personal property, particularly in respect to the construction, heating, ventilation and lighting of school buildings, in the local districts under his general supervision, and make recommendations in connection therewith;
  • Advise with, and counsel the boards of education of the local districts under his general supervision and of any other district of the county when so requested, in relation to the performance of their duties;
  • Promote administrative and operational efficiencies and cost savings within the school districts in the county while ensuring that the districts provide a thorough and efficient system of education;
  • Based on standards adopted by the commissioner, recommend to the commissioner, who is hereby granted the authority to effectuate those recommendations, that certain school districts be required to enter arrangements with one or more other school districts or educational services commissions for the consolidation of the district’s administrative services;
  • Recommend to the commissioner the elimination of laws the executive county superintendent determines to be unnecessary State education mandates, other than the categories of laws set forth in section 3 of P.L.1996, c.24 (C.52:13H-3);
  • Have the authority to eliminate districts located in the county that are not operating schools on the effective date of sections 42 to 58 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.18A:7-11 et al.), in accordance with a plan submitted to the commissioner no later than one year following the effective date of sections 42 to 58 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.18A:7-11 et al.);
  • No later than three years following the effective date of sections 42 to 58 of P.L.2007, c.63 (C.18A:7-11 et al.), recommend to the commissioner a school district consolidation plan to eliminate all districts, other than county-based districts and other than preschool or kindergarten through grade 12 districts in the county, through the establishment or enlargement of regional school districts.
  • Promote coordination and regionalization of pupil transportation services through means such as reviewing bus routes and schedules of school districts and nonpublic schools within the county;
  • Review and approve, according to standards adopted by the commissioner, all employment contracts for superintendents of schools, assistant superintendents of schools, and school business administrators in school districts within the county, prior to the execution of those contracts;
  • Request the commissioner to order a forensic audit and to select an auditor for any school district in the county upon the determination by the executive county superintendent, according to standards adopted by the commissioner, that the accounting practices in the district necessitate such an audit;
  • Review all school budgets of the school districts within the county, and may, pursuant to section 5 of P.L.1996, c.138 (C.18A:7F-5), disapprove a portion of a school district’s proposed budget if he determines that the district has not implemented all potential efficiencies in the administrative operations of the district or if he determines that the budget includes excessive non-instructional expenses.  If the executive county superintendent disapproves a portion of the school district’s budget pursuant to this paragraph, the school district shall deduct the disapproved amounts from the budget prior to publication of the budget, and during the budget year the school district shall not transfer funds back into those accounts;
  • Promote cooperative purchasing within the county of textbooks and other instructional materials;
  • Coordinate with the Department of Education to maintain a real time Statewide and district-wide database that tracks the types and capacity of special education programs being implemented by each district and the number of students enrolled in each program to identify program availability and needs;
  • Coordinate with the Department of Education to maintain a Statewide and district-wide list of all special education students served in out-of-district programs and a list of all public and private entities approved to receive special education students that includes pertinent information such as audit results and tuition charges;
  • Serve as a referral source for districts that do not have appropriate in-district programs for special education students and provide those districts with information on placement options in other school districts;
  • Conduct regional planning and identification of program needs for the development of in-district special education programs;
  • Serve as a liaison to facilitate shared special education services within the county including, but not limited to direct services, personnel development, and technical assistance;
  • Work with districts to develop in-district special education programs and services including providing training in inclusive education, positive behavior supports, transition to adult life, and parent-professional collaboration;
  • Approve school budgets
  • Approve grants for school aid applications Approve transportation contracts
  • Process teacher certification application reviews and certificate issuance
  • Evaluate all districts and schools within the county
  • Approve summer school programs
  • Provide training on school health programs including alcohol and drug education
  • Conduct monthly round table meetings with chief school administrators and periodic meetings with curriculum coordinators, child study directors and school business administrators
  • Maintain direct communication with local school districts
  • Mediate controversies and disputes to reduce petitions of appeal to the Commissioner
  • Conduct pre-hearing conferences to resolve differences between boards of education and municipal officials in cases of school district budget defeats
  • Provide assistance in resolving school disputes i.e. legal questions from public


The Executive County Superintendent and the state staff which includes the Business Administrator (shared time with Hunterdon County), Educational Program Specialist, and Child Study Supervisor (shared time with Hunterdon County) are funded by the New Jersey Department of Education. The county staff (1-business manager and 4 -clerical) are funded by the Freeholders. In addition, county government provides office space and supplies for the county superintendent and his staff.  

What should I do when I have a complaint or concern about my child’s school, program, transportation, teacher or administrator, or my local Board of Education or my local Superintendent?

The first step in resolving complaints or concerns is to contact your local school district.  Depending on the nature of your concern, you should first call the school Principal, guidance counselor, teacher or director of special education.  If you are unable to have a resolution to your concern at the school level, then you should contact the Office of the Superintendent. 

If your concern or complaint has to do with the Board of Education or Superintendent you should always first contact the Superintendent.  

When parents or community members call the county office we ask them if they have followed the protocol stated above.  If they have not we ask them to first contact the school or the school district to try to resolve any complaint or concern.  We do not directly resolve the public’s complaints and/or concerns.  Out of professional courtesy and appropriate procedures we refer all of these matters to the local school districts to provide them with the opportunity to resolve their local issues before there is any involvement in a local matter of the county office staff.   

Questions on taking the General Educational Development (GED) and obtaining your New Jersey State-Issued High School Diploma: