TRENTON - The state has begun reviewing superintendent contracts in its 31 so-called Abbott school districts, the neediest in New Jersey.

Gov. Corzine said yesterday that he had asked Education Commissioner Lucille Davy to ensure the contracts complied with state law and spent taxpayer money efficiently. The move came after an outcry over a $740,000 severance package for the superintendent in Keansburg, Monmouth County. Corzine has asked the state attorney general to seek an injunction preventing the money from being paid.

The Keansburg school board agreed Tuesday to put the payout on hold to see whether a new agreement can be reached.

The administration says it began reviewing some contracts last month as a result of new state fiscal regulations, and rejected a new contract for the superintendent in Plainfield, Union County. That contract provided payments for travel, meals, lodging, life insurance and sick-leave reimbursement.

- AP