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."