PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Port Chester Schools Superintendent Edward Kliszus has received a two-year contract extension but only three of the five Board of Education members voted for it.
Board members Blanca Lopez, Carolee Brakewood and Bob Johnson voted to extend Kliszus's contract for another two years. The new contract will run until 2016 and Kliszus will earn a one percent salary increase both years. Under the current contract, Kliszus makes $217,000 with no health benefits paid by the school district.
Board member James Dreves voted no along with colleague Anne Capeci. Dreves said that Lopez, whose term ends on June 30, along with Brakewood, Johnson and Kliszus engineered a "back-room deal" to get the contract done. Dreves said that it would be appropriate to wait three years, like the district does with teachers, before essentially giving the superintendent "tenure."
"Nobody can say that Ms. Capeci and I have not been supportive of the superintendent and the administration," Dreves said. "The board came together on every issue until this renegade move to secure tenure for Dr. Kliszus. "This is an issue of trust which proves that there is a lack of it from current majority which is a shame."
Brakewood said that the raise will be about $4,000 over two years which she called a "bargain" adding that Kliszus met or exceeded board expectations. Johnson said that the timing is appropriate to renew his contract to maintain stability for all staff and predict salary savings in the future.
"I feel this is more of a gesture than a raise for a superintendent who makes significantly less than his colleagues in Westchester," Johnson said. "By using words like power play, trust and renegade, our peers are using personal attacks. We don't need this on the board. We need reasonable people to have reasonable discussions. This is not a deal that we made over one hour."
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