SINCLAIRVILLE - One month after the sudden departure of its superintendent and high school principal, the Cassadaga Valley Central School District has disclosed the terms of agreements with its former administrators.
During a special Board of Education meeting Nov. 12, the board approved the resignation of former superintendent Scott Smith, and a leave of absence request for high school principal Dr. Tara DiDomenico. At the time, the board was unable to provide details surrounding the resolutions.
According to documentation obtained by The Post-Journal through a Freedom of Information Law request, Smith received the equivalent of 90 days' pay at his current salary rate, excluding required withholdings, within seven days following the execution of the Nov. 12 agreement. For reference, per SeeThroughNY.net, Smith's salary for the 2012-13 school year was $131,500. In addition, Smith was permitted to use his current health reimbursement account with the district until the current balance in the account is exhausted or one year from the date of the agreement's execution.
Other terms stated that Smith may not, at any time in the future, reapply for employment with CVCS, and he will accept the aforementioned payments and benefits in lieu of any other payments or benefits to which he would otherwise be entitled. Also included is a stipulation that neither Smith nor the district may sue over the terms of the agreement.
A separate FOIL request in regard to the terms of DiDomenico's settlement revealed that she was placed on administrative leave with pay on Nov. 6 and will remain so until June 30, 2014, at which time she will irrevocably resign from her position. Per SeeThroughNY.net, DiDomenico's 2012-13 salary was $85,067.
In the event that DiDomenico finds other employment that would conflict with her regular working hours during the period of her administrative leave, the district's payment obligations will be reduced by her gross earnings from that employment. She will also be provided health insurance coverage on a single or family policy basis pursuant to her collective bargaining agreement through and including her resignation date. The district may choose to satisfy its obligation in this regard by paying for any Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act coverage available to DiDomenico and/or her dependents during this period.
The Board of Education also granted tenure to DiDomenico in the administrative tenure area of high school principal, effective as of June 30, 2014. However, if she secures other employment prior to that time, the date on which she is awarded tenure will be amended and be deemed to be the last date of her employment with the district.
Other stipulations in DiDomenico's agreement reflect those in Smith's. She will accept the aforementioned payments and benefits in lieu of any other payments and benefits to which she would otherwise be entitled, she may not reapply for employment at CVCS at any time in the future and neither she nor the district may sue over the terms of the agreement.
According to a prepared statement by the district, the agreements were negotiated between the district's legal counsel and attorneys for both Smith and DiDomenico, following an investigation by the district.
"The Board of Education has at all times been committed to resolving this matter in a way that protects the interests of the district, its students and its taxpayers," the statement reads. "The board consulted regularly with its legal counsel, as well as with BOCES Superintendent Dr. David O'Rourke. The terms negotiated in these agreements, including the resignations from employment by both Mr. Smith and Dr. DiDomenico, represent the best terms the district was able to obtain to resolve this matter and to allow the district to move forward."
Due to continuing confidentiality and legal considerations, the district has said it is unable to provide any further detail on the underlying circumstances behind the resignations.
Smith's superintendency was swiftly followed by the appointment of Thomas Schmidt as interim superintendent only hours after Smith's resignation was approved. The high school principal position, left vacant by DiDomenico, was filled at a succeeding board meeting in which Josh Gilevski, former principal of Sinclairville Elementary School, was appointed as interim high school principal.