The Buffalo School Board will pay Superintendent Pamela C. Brown slightly more for her resignation than if the governing body had simply fired her.
The board voted, 7-2, Monday to pay Brown a year’s salary, plus a $10,000 bonus and a $2,000 consulting fee for voluntarily leaving the district. She will also receive cash for her unused vacation time.
Her resignation, effective immediately, was followed by the board’s unanimous appointment of high-ranking administrator Will Keresztes as interim superintendent.
“I wish to thank and commend Dr. Pamela Brown for her service to Buffalo,” Keresztes said after being named to the interim post.
“To building administrators and teachers – you deserve a transition that does not cause distractions,” Keresztes said. “I will work hard to support you during this Regents week as you bring this year to another close.”
Keresztes, previously chief of student support, assumed leadership of the district starting Monday.
In his first move as the district’s leader, he is asking that the board rescind its decision to close Martin Luther King School 39 and that the school remain as is this coming school year. He also wants intervention specialists to be assigned to the school.
He also requests that the board rescind its controversial decision to co-locate Middle Early College in the same building as Math Science Technology Prep School.
“We are nowhere close to having the support from parents, students or teachers on any of these decisions,” he said. “In the end, we’ve missed our target.”
His requests will be taken up by the board for discussion during the board’s committee meetings Wednesday.
Brown will receive the equivalent of one full year’s salary, $217,500, plus the $10,000 “performance bonus” for which she was due for the 2012-13 school year. In addition, she will receive $9,167 for unused vacation time, as required by law, and $2,000 to do consulting work by phone between now and Aug. 16.
Had Brown been fired under the no-fault termination clause of her employment contract, she would have been entitled to a year’s salary, plus her unused vacation time only.
Board members Jason McCarthy and Carl Paladino voted against the agreement, with McCarthy calling the agreement “fiscally irresponsible.”
The resignation agreement includes letters of recommendation, signed by board President Barbara Seals Nevergold, for Brown to use at any job she applies for in the future.
Keresztes’ appointment is expected to be temporary, possibly for just a few weeks, until the board hires a longer-term interim superintendent – someone who would serve in that role for one to two years. Keresztes would be free to apply for that job.
The School Board has been trying to craft a job description for the interim superintendent, but thus far, disagreements among board members have prevented them from finalizing it.
It is unclear the extent to which the board will conduct extensive interviews for a longer-term interim superintendent. Prior to Keresztes’ appointment, the incoming board majority had expressed the desire to interview candidates as soon as possible for appointment on July 1.
To view Brown’s resignation agreement and Keresztes’ resume, visit the School Zone blog at www.buffalonews.com/schoolzone email: firstname.lastname@example.org