Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) Chair, Senate Education Committee today announced that his legislation to restrict the buyout of school superintendents’ contracts, has passed the Senate. Presently, a school board and a school superintendent can negotiate a significant severance package upon the termination of a superintendent's contract.
Saland's legislation would prohibit payment of compensation to a superintendent for their remaining time when the termination was for just cause. In the event a superintendent leaves before completing their contract, the superintendent and the board would be prevented from negotiating a compensation package in excess of 25 percent of the annual salary. Furthermore, the board would be required to notify the public at the next regularly scheduled board of education meeting about the initiation of severance negotiations.
"This policy will 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, the superintendent was offered a buyout in December 2005 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," Saland concluded.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly.