Senator Saland Introduces Legislation To Restrict The Buyout Of School Superintendents' Contracts

Stephen M. Saland

May 24, 2006

Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) Chair, Senate Education Committee today announced that legislation he introduced to restrict the buyout of school superintendents’ contracts, has been reported from the Senate Education Committee to the floor. At present a school board and a school superintendent can provide for a significant severance package upon the termination of a superintendent's contract.

This legislation would prohibit payment of compensation to a superintendent for their remaining time when the termination was for just cause. In addition, a superintendent who leaves before completing their contract without just cause, would be prevented from receiving compensation in excess of 25 percent of their annual salary. Furthermore, the public would be required to receive notification at the next regularly scheduled board of education meeting about the initiation of negotiations.

"This policy would give the public greater assurance that their taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately," said Senator Saland. "I believe that removing the secrecy surrounding these buyouts and setting guidelines for the removal of superintendents will offer assurance to the public that these agreements are made only with the best interests of students and taxpayers in mind."

In recent years there have been a number of cases across New York State where superintendents have left their positions with large buyouts with little or no

explanation ever provided to the public about the basis for the agreed upon severance package. In the City of Poughkeepsie its superintendent was offered a buyout in December that included his full $163,500 annual salary through July 2007 as well as a benefits package.

"This legislation is directed at a process that has caused considerable concern, if not outcry, in those communities where this type of ‘buyout’ has occurred," said Senator Saland.