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District residency requirement added to new superintendents’ contracts at SLC, N-N

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BRASHER FALLS - Incoming St. Lawrence Central School Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. will be required to live within the district’s geographic boundaries under the terms of his contract, as will incoming Norwood-Norfolk Central School Superintendent James M. Cruikshank should he decide to move from his current Hannawa Falls home while superintendent.

The contract between Mr. Vigliotti, currently the superintendent at General Brown Central School District in Dexter, and the district’s board of education specifies that Mr. Vigliotti will establish his residence by Dec. 31, 2013; “otherwise, shall render this agreement null and void.”

However, the board can waive the provision or extend the deadline at the superintendent’s request “and for good reason,” according to the contract.

The district will reimburse Mr. Vigliotti up to $2,500 for costs associated with his relocation into the district. That includes temporary housing, storage costs and costs incurred with a professional moving company.

The contract between the Norwood-Norfolk Central School Board of Education and Mr. Cruikshank, who currently serves as principal at A.A. Kingston Middle School, Potsdam, also addresses residency requirements.

“In the event that the superintendent changes his primary residence during the term of this agreement, he shall establish his primary residence within the geographical boundaries of the district,” the contract reads.

No residency requirements currently exist in contracts for St. Lawrence Central School Superintendent Stephen M. Putman or Norwood-Norfolk Central School Superintendent Elizabeth A. Kirnie.

Mr. Vigliotti’s five-year contract, which begins July 1, calls for a salary of $125,000 from his start date to June 30, 2014. The salary will be reviewed during negotiations at each 12-month period of employment. Mr. Putman currently earns $119,122 under the latest addendum to his contract.

The contract also calls for a business travel stipend of $400 a month - a total of $4,800 per year - rather than the district maintaining a vehicle for Mr. Vigliotti to use in his day-to-day duties.

The district will also pay $360 annually toward the cost of Mr. Vigliotti’s Internet service at his home and pay him $100 a month to defray the cost of mobile telephone service used to perform his duties.

Like Mr. Putman, Mr. Vigliotti will contribute 15 percent toward his health coverage under the district’s standard plan for instructional employees. If he opts not to enroll in the district-provided health insurance plan, he will be reimbursed 50 percent of the premiums charged under an individual or single health insurance policy or plan.

The district will also pay $120 annually toward the cost of dental insurance coverage for Mr. Vigliotti and his dependents under the district’s dental insurance plan. That clause is also contained in Mr. Putman’s contract.

At Norwood-Norfolk Central School, Mr. Cruikshank will earn an annual salary of $118,000 per year under the terms of his three-year contract, which begins on July 1. His salary will be reviewed annually. Mrs. Kirnie currently earns $115,821.

The district will pay 85 percent of Mr. Cruikshank’s health insurance coverage provided under Rider No. 9 of the district’s health insurance plan with St. Lawrence-Lewis Counties School District Employees’ Medical Plan.

The board is currently providing Mrs. Kirnie and her family with 90 percent of the premium costs of health, hospitalization and medical insurance under the St. Lawrence-Lewis Health Care Plan. She is also receiving $212 toward the annual premium costs of coverage for both dental and optical insurance.

St. Lawrence Central Board of Education President James K. Lattimer said that, while most of the language and benefits in Mr. Vigliotti’s contract are standard to many other superintendent contracts, there were some that unique because they were getting an experienced district leader.

Mr. Vigliotti has served as superintendent of schools at the General Brown Central School District in Dexter since 2002. He was previously the deputy superintendent from 2001 to 2002 and junior and senior high principal at General Brown from 1999 to 2002.

“He has 11 years of being a superintendent,” he said, noting that employers in the private sector were also likely to take that background into consideration when making a job offer. “We think we’ve got a really good superintendent coming in.”

Other language in the contract has changed over the years since Mr. Putman was first hired in 2005 because of a change in the dynamics of the educational field. For instance, one portion of the agreement says that, should the district be dissolved, merged, annexed to or consolidated, the board “agrees to make every reasonable effort to ensure that the superintendent is appointed to the position of superintendent of the merged district.”

“A lot of wording has changed because of the requirements,” Mr. Lattimer said.

Thomas R. Burns, superintendent of the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, said many contracts are based on a template provided by the New York Council of Superintendents.

“There is a so-called model contract, which is just a template that can be utilized,” he said. “I think many superintendent contracts are very similar.”

However, he noted, changes in language are between the individual boards and the incoming superintendent.

“Every contract has to be approved and negotiated with the local board of education. That’s going to account for some of the differences, the local decision by the local board of education. Every community has slightly different values they wanted to see reflected in the contract,” Mr. Burns said.

The other “big piece” to benefits in contracts is the person’s experience, he said.

“I think that’s a significant factor both in terms of the candidate and also the advertised salary range” as opposed to “newer candidates who haven’t been a superintendent before and maybe might not have as much other administrative experience,” Mr. Burns said.

In Mr. Vigliotti’s case, 11 years as a superintendent “is a pretty long tenure these days,” he said.

Mr. Burns said some boards are also comparing a superintendent’s benefits to other employees in the district when drawing up contracts.

“I see boards trying to reduce superintendent benefits relative to other employees. For example, if a board is trying to get concessions from teachers on health insurance and if teachers contribute 5 percent, the district is having the superintendent contribute 10 percent. They want the superintendent to take the lead on those issues,” he said.

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