New Rochelle Superintendent Gifts Hundreds of Employees 3 Days Paid Leave at Taxpayer Expense

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — New Rochelle Superintendent Jonathon Raymond has decided to close all school buildings and offices on December 28, 29, and 30, during the holiday recess. The news came in a letter sent to employees last week.

All “12-month employees” will be given 3 days paid leave over the upcoming holiday week, which includes administrators, service-related professionals, confidential employees, office staff and 12 months hourly employees. All 12 months hourly employees were scheduled to report to work on December 28, 29 and 30 will be paid or their normally scheduled hours at their regular rate of pay on each of those days.

No 10-month employees will be given extra days of paid leave.

“We thank you for all you do and ask that you take this time to focus on your families and loved ones,” said Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Corey Reynolds. “We look forward to your return to school in the new year, and we wish you a joyful holiday season.

The Reynolds letter was cc’d to Superintendent Raymond, Board President Julia Muggia-Ochs, FUSE President Mary Claire Breslin, A&S President Melissa Passarelli and the New Rochelle Board of Education.

We reached to leadership on the school board, the unions, and the administration, but no one was willing to answer questions.

The Superintendent’s decision to close the schools and offices for three extra days amounts to adding three days of paid leave outside the existing contracts negotiated under collective bargaining. It should come as no surprise that the union leaders gratefully accepted the largess sent their way. The New Rochelle Board of Education did discuss the matter but did not vote to approve a board resolution.

The move raises numerous questions no one involved wants to answer:

  1. Is this legal? Most if not all 12 month employees work are under a contract. Is this not unilaterally changing those contracts? Does the Superintendent have such authority and, if so, based on what?
  2. Is this a ministerial act, or does it require board approval? Has the board given its approval? What board resolution?
  3. Are there side agreements with the unions and will they be made public, distributed to FUSE and A&S members?
  4. How many 12 month employees work for the District?
  5. What is the total cost of this gift?
  6. What about 10-month employees? Will they also receive 3 days paid leave? Or a check for the equivalent amount?
  7. What is the legal argument for this action?
  8. Does this action constitute a “past practice? Is it now required going forward that all 12 month employees get an additional 3 days paid leave?
  9. Is unilaterally giving employees paid leave without getting anything in return effective bargaining?
  10. What happens every four years when the Christmas Holiday is 2 weeks?

We estimate there are are about 200 or so 12-month employees who are paid a wide range of salaries. At $200 a day, the total value of the gift is about $40,000 a day over 3 days or about $120,000 — about the cost of hiring a new teacher.