The Journal News is reporting that the Pocantico Hills Central District has paid $80,000 as part of a separation agreement with now-former Superintendent of Schools in Pocantico Hills Fred Smith. Smith was the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in New Rochelle prior to accepting the Pocantico Hills position in May 2008.
In response to a Freedom of Information Law request, Pocantico Hills Central District has revealed they paid Smith $79,461 but that no other benefits or money would be paid. The agreement states Smith decision to leave was “personal”.
Jay Scotto-Friedman, Acting Superintendent in Pocantico Hills said at a school board meeting last night, “The district actually provided for less than he would have been entitled to.”
Smith’s contract with the PHCD began in 2008 and would typically run until 2011. At $250,000 a year plus benefits, Smith would have had over $400,000 plus benefits and perks remaining on his deal brining the total cost of a buyout to over half a million dollars, meaning Smith may have left as much as $400,000 on the table.
Smith’s resignation came just four weeks after Talk of the Sound revealed emails sent by Smith, in his capacity as Pocantico Hills Superintendent, which revealed the existence of a study that New Rochelle school officials have repeatedly claimed does not exist. In the emails, Smith voluntarily discloses the existence of a report which compared the performance of New Rochelle High School students from Isaac E. Young Middle School and those from Albert Leonard Middle School. The Smith Report found a wide disparity in performance between students from the two middle schools that Smith described as “shocking”. New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak subsequently filed a false statement with the New York State Committee on Open Government denying the existence of the Smith report which was widely known within the administration of the New Rochelle school district.