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Charter School Chef's $24K Salary Bump Also Includes $151K Fee

LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden, NJ, paid over $150,000 to change contractors while also bumping its executive chef's salary by $24,000, or over 33 percent.

The case of the New Jersey charter school chef who received a nearly 34% bump in salary over one year has sprouted new details that include the payment of a $151,000 charge to change contract management companies, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Chef Michele Pastorello of LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden saw his salary increase from $71,000 to $95,000 this year, coincident with a change in management companies from Aramark to Metz Culinary Services. The school, which reportedly suffered a $272,241 deficit in its dining program last year, also had to pay Aramark a $151,000 fee for terminating the contract.

Pastorello's salary is reportedly more than twice the average amount paid to chefs with similar responsibilities in similar-sized school dining operations. LEAP has an enrollment of around a thousand. The district board has announced an investigation into the matter and the state may also look into how funds were used.

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