Rabinowitz Returns to Full Time

The Hamden Board of Education Tuesday approved a two-year contract that brings the superintendent back full time and pays her half of a normal salary for the position.


Supt. of Schools Fran Rabinowitz will stay put for the next two years after the Board of Education Tuesday approved a contract that one school official says is a win-win for the district and the taxpayers.

Rabinowitz retired last December but stayed on part-time on a per Diem basis. At the time she cited the illness of a family member as the reason for her decision to retire. 

But her personal situation has improved, which led to her decision to return full-time.

"I'm very pleased to remain with the Hamden Public Schools for the next two years," she said after the board meeting Tuesday night. "I'm looking forward to continuing to moving the programs forward."

Officially she is still retired and collecting her Teachers Retirement Board pension, into which she paid for more than three decades, board chairman Michael D'Agostino said. 

"Not a dollar of Hamden taxpayer money pays her retirement," he said.

She was able to be retained on a part-time basis under a state program that allows retired educators in shortage areas to stay on part-time. The position of superintendent of schools is a shortage area, D'Agostino said, along with positions such as math teachers.

Under the state regulations, Rabinowitz can't earn more than 45 percent of what was her $160,000 full time salary, D'Agostino said. The contract approved Tuesday, which runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014, calls for a salary of $75,000 a year, which falls under that percentage, he said, as well as a $25,000 annuity.

She is also entitled to a $1,000 stipend for miscellaneous expenses, D'Agostino said, which before her retirement she never used.

She will not receive health benefits under the contract, as she is already covered by the Bridgeport school district, where she worked for many years.

"We are getting the best superintendent for the best cost," D'Agostino said. If the board were to hire a new superintendent, it would cost as much as $200,000 a year plus benefits, he said, the going salary for a superintendent in a district comparable to Hamden.

"It's a win-win for the taxpayers, a win-win for the school system, the students and the teachers," he said. "I'm happy to have her continue in this role and happy to have her continue in this role at half the price."

D'Agostino announced that Rabinowitz would stay on full time at a recent PTA council dinner, and one person there said the reaction was unanimous.

"There was thunderous applause," said Meg Nowacki. "Everyone had only positive things to say about her and that this is the best way to proceed for the next two years, having her at the helm."

Charles Baltayan June 13, 2012 at 12:45 PM
The taxpayer loses again. Collect a full retirement and work full time? NOT RIGHT!!! Retire or work- if you work, give up your retirement and get back to work at your old salary and not get a huge raise in the interim. Mr. D'Agostino and Ms. Rabinowitz need to be held accountable for extorting the public in a way that would make the Mafia envious. A $155,000 salary goes to $200,000 in two years only to justify her dubious current 'arrangement'. With all the people out of work I am sure someone (maybe even one of the two Assistant Superintendents) would be happy to accept that salary and job.
Don Charles June 13, 2012 at 01:31 PM
And D'Agostino wants to run to represent CT in DC. All you dummy Dems out there don't forget to vote for him so he can take more out of your pockets on the federal area.
Tony June 13, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Stop it, North HavenCB. She's a great public servant and the Board actually saves money, the Town saves medical - win-win.
Thomas Alegi June 13, 2012 at 03:19 PM
This move by Hamden’s Superintendent of Schools and the BOE is a slap in the face to all Hamden town employees and Hamden taxpayers. Hamden has financial ills caused by underfunding the town employee pension, which was not any town employees fault; the fault lies with our Hamden politicians, but who is being blamed for this pension problem, town employees are. Some in town say town hourly employees are greedy, which caused this pension problem, would these same people say the say regarding Hamden’s Superintendent of Schools? Hamden has a very clever Superintendent of Schools and BOE chairman adding to the controversy surrounding Hamden and State pensions and Hamden’s financial ills. The BOE chairman makes it sound like Hamden got a great deal by rehiring the Superintendent of Schools for two years, the only one that got a great deal was Hamden’s Superintendent of Schools, due to her clever maneuvering of the rules over time. The BOE and Hamden’s Superintendent of Schools have legally maneuvered, what some would say “double dipping” from the State of Connecticut and Hamden taxpayers. This double dipping maneuvering just points out clearly the legally supported exploitation of Connecticut and Hamden taxpayers by clever people. Where is the outcry by Hamden politicians over this exploitation of the rules, or do Hamden politicians just yell foul when it comes to hourly union town employees?
Ann Criscuolo Pari June 13, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Don - If you are looking for D'Agostino on the ballot running for Federal office, you are not going to find him since he is running for State representative from the 91st district to represent us in CT not DC. Now who is the dummy?
George Levinson June 13, 2012 at 04:16 PM
This really does feel like a double dip. There is a moral issue about hiring a retired person to her own full time position. Granted her pension is not paid by Hamden and the pay is less than a new hire. I simply don't think she has done a good job. We need someone that will play hardball with the unions and cut the bloated staff. She obviously will never do that. She lives and breathes the union/tenure mantra, trying to extract more and more from the town. It is time to hold the Board of Education accountable for cost and performance. We can only hope that D'Agostino leaves and we get someone who is tough enough to hold her feet to the fire.
Linda C June 13, 2012 at 05:08 PM
I would much rather pay someone $200 k to actually do the job and SAVE US MONEY WITH A DECENT BUDGET, than back Rubinowitz's $75 k RAISE for upping the MILL RATE EVERY YEAR!! I wonder how all the TEACHERS who got screwed out of their raises, feel about her nice $75 K RAISE? Hmmmmmm think this was a coincidence, how this worked out? Do any of you think you would have been kept on if you pushed your FMLA an entire YEAR? Do you think you would have been given a RAISE on top of it? How STUPID does this BOE think we are? Why not make her the new Probate Judge as well? I'm sure she can squeeze that in along with ANOTHER HEFTY SALARY FOR HERSELF! Monies aside, when will this town realize THE WOMAN DOESN'T KNOW WHAT SHE'S DOING? HER JOB IS TO MAKE THE BEST BUDGET WORK FOR THE GOOD OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM AS WELL AS THE TAX PAYERS!!! SHE DOES NEITHER!!!!!!!! LET HER GO FOR THE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD OF HAMDEN! If she was as awesome as everyone on the BOE chides she is, why didn't another town swoop her up during her retirement? Why is Hamden the LUCKY town that always gets STUCK with her? LET ME FILL YOU IN ON HER NEXT BUDGET PROPOSAL! THE BOE NEEDS MINIMUM ANOTHER 3.2 MILLION TO KEEP THE EDUCATIONAL DEPARTMENT ON COURSE WITH FEDERAL GUIDELINES! Wow, maybe I should be Superintendent! That was pretty easy! I'll have to practice drinking a glass of water while making Jackson's lips move though! Other than that, shouldn't be a problem! WHAT A BUNCH OF CLOWNS!!!
Ted B June 13, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Fran Rabinowitz is the best superintendent of schools that Hamden has had in a very long time. When someone makes a good salary, they're automatically a target. But as far as her job performance is concerned, she is one of the best superintendents in the state by far. You can hate on her because she makes a lot of money, but I'd like to hear specific criticisms of her job performance. There is a reason why she is a widely respected educator and Hamden is lucky to have her. She is not all for the unions. She has cut the budget as much as possible without affecting the quality of education. If you all think more can be cut, there's a meeting the second Tuesday of every month -- let them know. She paid into the teacher's retirement for years and has every right to collect it. Would you have the same opinion of someone collecting Social Security while working a part-time job? It just so happens that Ms. Rabinowitz's job pays exceptionally well. Do you expect a superintendent of schools to earn $30g? Would you do that job for $30G? Let's be realistic here. She gets her retirement benefits whether she sits home and watches game shows or continues to work. So here we have Hamden employing a great superintendent full time for the unheard of salary of $75G plus the annuity and we don't even have to pay for her health benefits and YOU PEOPLE STILL COMPLAIN!!! The town is getting a great deal for the next two years. Kudos to the board and to Ms. Rabinowitz.
AG June 13, 2012 at 05:54 PM
The town employees have a bankrupt pension fund and the super walks away with the gold. This is for a part time position: state pension is 75% of $160K or 120K salary .......................................... 75K annuity..........................................25K stipend............................................1K (coffee money) bonus points (trip to China)............10K Total.......................................... 231K "She was able to be retained on a part-time basis under a state program that allows retired educators in shortage areas to stay on part-time." "I'm very pleased to remain with the Hamden Public Schools for the next two years" said Rabinowitz to "thunderous applause" Lets add a class to the Hamden High curriculum on how to scam the system as we have plenty of in house experts.
Thomas Alegi June 13, 2012 at 06:54 PM
“When someone makes a good salary, they're automatically a target” that statement is not true at all. Educators, who make good salaries and don’t perform, are the ones who become targets of criticism regarding their high salaries. This criticism of Fran Rabinowitz started a year after she took the position of Hamden’s Superintendent of Schools, which had nothing to do with her salary at that time, at that time people saw her as an awkward nonperformer, that criticism is still with her today.. Michael D'Agostino said, "Not a dollar of Hamden taxpayer money pays her retirement," Mr. D'Agostino unless there is a way of not paying Connecticut taxes in Hamden, all Hamden taxpayers are paying Fran Rabinowitz now, by paying some kind of state tax, just to mention a few state taxes how about Connecticut sales tax and Connecticut income tax, which all Hamden residents have to pay along with all residents of Connecticut. So does it matter now who writes Fran Rabinowitz retirement checks, the money is coming out of Hamden resident’s pockets somehow?
Linda C June 13, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I will attend those meetings when my input has some clout. All those meetings are now, is a waste of Town Electricity. We need to change the Charter and give the power back to those who foot the bill. THE VOTERS! That is when your town meetings will be on a level playing field and my input won't just be cordially DISMISSED!
AG June 13, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Who is supervising the supervisor? She reports to no one once the contract is signed. There is no peer review of her performance that I know of. Ted, when you say "But as far as her job performance is concerned, she is one of the best superintendents in the state by far." Can you back that up with statistics or is it hearsay?
Don Charles June 14, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Thank you guess I was not correct. Understood he was going to run for Federal. So he would still be a waste and a big spender in Hartford. Not all of us are rocket scientist like you.
Hamden is indeed fortunate to have Fran for another two years. I'd like to know how many of the people making comments have recently been to a BOE meeting, talked to teachers or been to any of our schools. Anyone who knows Fran and the work she has done, with the help of the BOE, regardless of political party, has nothing but good things to say about her. Unless you are one of those people who knows first-hand what's going on, please be quiet. To answer the question of who she is accountable to: Fran is a woman of incredible integrity and is her own harshest critic. As part of her original contract, as per her request, she is subject to a 360 degree peer review. She is accountable to her staff, the BOE, the students and parents of Hamden's public schools.
AG June 19, 2012 at 01:25 AM
How about being accountable to the people that feed her? She is feeding from two troughs, both of which are nearly bankrupt. Teach your children well as they learn by example. Do ethics have a place in Hamdens education system? Marjorie, its obvious whats going on here, you can't dismiss the facts.
Mario June 19, 2012 at 02:16 AM
So let me get this straight: We all agree that Rabinowitz will still collect her pension regardless of whether she returns to Hamden or not. So I am reading that residents would rather shell out the 200+ thousand dollars it will cost to find a new superintendent (not including the cost of hiring a search firm) than pay 75K to retain her services for another two years? I mean, really? I'd love to hear what the naysayers do for a living and compare it to the hours and time put in by any school superintendent.
Mario June 19, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Of course she hasn't done a good job George. As a matter of fact, no one ever seems to live up to your lofty expectations. I don't think I have ever seen you post a positive comment about anything on the Patch. You are obviously far more trained in everything than the rest of us poor slobs...why don't you apply to be superintendent and show us how things should be run. And you can do it for $1 a year because that is what you seem to think everyone should be earning...administrators, gym teachers, anyone.
Charles Baltayan June 19, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Ethics only seem to apply when convenient: The hamden Ethics Board ignores complaints, the Administration and BofE sidesteps FOI requests and the FBI and Retirement Board is trying to hide the truth. I stand by my original comment where this is a shameful abuse of the system and taxpayer must cease and I personally think she and Mr. D'Agostino should be forced to resign without benefits and with penalty for just attempting to do what they are doing.
AG June 19, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Anyone want to clarify whether this position is full time as reported by Patch or part time as required by law and expressed by D'Agostino ... "She was able to be retained on a part-time basis under a state program that allows retired educators in shortage areas to stay on part-time." As for a shortage the practice clogs the career ladder for younger workers, particularly at a time when jobs are scarce. Ironic isn't it?
Charles Baltayan June 19, 2012 at 04:07 PM
The undated agreement for $795/diem states 3 days per week and only until a successor is chosen. (I just sent a letter to the BofE, Mayor and LC calling for the termination of D'Agostino and Rabinowitz including a copy of the 'agreement'.) I think the whole BofE just voted to retain her full time.
william tuttle June 19, 2012 at 07:18 PM
She is not for the Unions...but she certainly doesn't mind picking up that Union negotiated pension check....Ted you are a little hypocritical here. For the record I think it is a great deal for the town and a bargin
Charles Baltayan June 19, 2012 at 08:17 PM
For all those who think that paying the "retired" supeintendent is a bargain, think again. We have two assistant superintendents where only one should be needed. Let her go and use one of the two to step in and save the town the illicit raise she will be netting. All will save in the long run and the salary cost to the town will only be $30,000 for the raise of one of the assistants who should be glad to step in knowing that one assistant will no longer exist.


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