The Red Bank Board of Education last night ratified a five-year employment contract with Superintendent Laura Morana that will pay her $155,000 this year, the Asbury Park Press reports today.

The pact includes annual four-percent raises. It replaces a three-year contract that was to have expired in 2009, and carried a base salary of $143,000, the newspaper reports.

From the article:

Board members cited Morana’s fiscal management and improving the district’s academic reputation as some of the reasons for signing her to a new contract.

“When I first came on the board, I said with the size of the district, this should be a model district,” said Janet Jones, former board president. “I believe that under Laura Morana’s leadership, we’re on our way.”

Ben Forest, board finance committee chairman, said he would have liked to have paid less, but conceded that a lower amount wouldn’t buy an administrator of Morana’s caliber.

“She’s clearly been effective as our educational leader. She’s also been effective in saving the district money in many ways,” Forest said. “She didn’t get any incremental raise in her first contract.”

Forest lauded Morana for bringing in a budget with a 1 percent increase for the coming school year, although the district could have legally increased spending by 4 percent.

The board also re-elected Peter Noble as board president and Juanita Lewis as vice president, the Press reports.

Lewis is a Democratic candidate this year with Ed Zipprich in the race for two spots on the borough council. They’ll face incumbent Grace Cangemi and John Tyler.

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