EGG HARBOR CITY - Charles L. Spragg Elementary School Principal Adrienne Shulby - who started as a long-term substitute teacher in the district about 16 years ago - will replace retiring Egg Harbor City Schools Superintendent John Gilly III when he retires Jan. 1.

In a cost-cutting measure, she also will continue her job as principal.

Her salary has yet to be negotiated, but it cannot exceed the $135,000 state-set cap. That cap limits the salary for the superintendent of a district the size of Egg Harbor City, a preschool to eighth-grade district with 546 students, even though Shulby also will perform the duties of principal, Gilly said.

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Gilly said by combining the two positions, the district will save at least $120,000 per year starting in the 2014-15 school year. Savings will be less, probably about $40,000, in 2013-14 because the changes don't take effect until Jan. 1.

Shulby got the job Wednesday night at the Egg Harbor City Board of Education meeting, after she gave a presentation about her background, management style and approach to the job. Then she answered questions from board members and others in a public interview.

"You can feel secure that what Mr. Gilly has done will not go by the wayside," she told board members. Gilly has been superintendent for 14 years, during which time the district has seen improvements in student performance and facilities. "Everyhing I have learned, I have learned directly from him. He's the only administrator I have ever worked for."

Gilly is making $147,500 this year, and his salary increases to $154,000 in 2013-14, in a five-year contract negotiated before the state cap came into effect. Shulby's salary for the 2013-14 school year is $100,176, he said.

Shulby has master's degrees in educational leadership and instructional technology, and plans to get a doctorate. She said she also has been teaching at Atlantic Cape Com munity College as an adjunct professor,

The district's $9.97 million 2013-14 budget, which passed in March, raises $2.9 million in property taxes. It increased the tax rate by 3.4 percent, even after saving money through staff changes and cutbacks. The new local school tax rate - up 3.9 cents to $1.29 per $100 of assessed property value - means the owner of the average home, assessed at $142,500 in 2013, will pay $1,838 in local school taxes.

In addition to combining the superintendent and Spragg principal jobs, two full-time teaching jobs and two part-time classroom aide positions were eliminated in the budget.

Gilly said decreases in preschool aid and debt service aid, and an increase in the amount the district must pay the Schools Development Authority for bonds to build the Community School, forced the cutbacks.

"Trenton giveth, and Trenton taketh away," Gilly said at the budget hearing in March.

He also said the cost of health insurance, salaries and out-of-district tuition contributed to the budget squeeze.

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