New Rochelle School Administrator Salaries and Benefit Costs Have Risen Nearly 300% More Than Rate of Inflation Over Past Decade

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New Rochelle School Administrator Salaries and Benefit Costs Have Risen Nearly 300% More Than Rate of Inflation Over Past Decade

June 17, 2012 - 19:37

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UPDATE: We will be discussing this article on Blog Talk Radio at 4 pm ET Today.

The growth in budgeted spending on administrative compensation by the New Rochelle Board of Education has grown by 81% since the 2002-03 school budget nearly three times the rate of inflation over the past 10 years, based on an analysis of school budget records by Talk of the Sound.

Between May 2002 and May 2012, total U.S. inflation as measured by CPI was 28%.

Every year the administration cries poor with the school boards serving as the Superintendent's Greek Chorus and yet administrative salaries have grown at a staggering rate with new positions regularly being added at the central office and in the school buildings. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has cited superintendents’ compensation as a major factor in the growth of school spending.

The 2002-03 budget spending for 6 Cabinet Positions (Superintendent and 5 Assistant Superintendents was $746,146. In 2012-13, this figure rose to $1,271,305 for 5 Cabinet Positions (Superintendent and 3 Assistant Superintendents and 1 Assistant to the Superintendent). Despite eliminating 1 position and downgrading a second, total Cabinet-level spending rose by 70% during the past decade.

The elimination of an Assistant Superintendent position after the departure of Fred Smith in 2008 has masked the full extent of the increase; lines items in the budget may have been improperly transferred to other Assistant Superintendent positions. The average compensation for a cabinet member rose from $124,358 to $254,261 during that period, an increase of 104%.

The 2002-03 budget spending for administrative and supervisory earning over the qualifying amount ($97,000) was $5,383,413 including salary plus an estimate of 35% of salary in benefits. In 2012--13, this figure rose to $9,801,396.

The 2012-13 lists 47 qualifying administrative and supervisory positions as opposed to just 35 qualifying positions in 2002-03. There is only one Middle School Assistant Principal position ($163,806) listed in Appendix C of the 2012-13 budget. There are two such positions: one at Albert Leonard Middle School and one at Isaac E. Young Middle School. The 2002-03 budget document does not list any salaries for three positions: an Elementary School Principal (est. $120,000), Middle School Administrative Dean (est. $107,000) and High School House Principal (est. $100,000). These missing positions and salaries were added back to calculate the totals and growth figures. Total spending for qualifying administrative and supervisory positions rose by 82% over the past decade.

Chapter 474 of the Laws of 1996 amended New York State Education Law Sections 1608 and 1716 to require that Superintendent and Administrative Compensation be published in each year's school budget document. This includes any supervisor or administrative employees scheduled to receive over an established amount determined by the state government. In 2002-03 that figure was $97,000. This year, for the 2012-13 budget, the figure is $120,000. In New Rochelle, this information is included each year in Appendix C of the annual budget document.

An apples-to-apples comparison is complicated by the change in the cut-off figure for reporting supervisor or administrative employees and upgrades in titles for certain positions (e.g., the Director of Technology is not listed in the 2002-03 budget), and changes in position types (e.g, the cabinet had 6 positions in 2002-03 and 5 in 2012-13, the PR person working as a salaried employee for the district was replaced by a PR firm). Nonetheless, the aggregate data paints a picture of out of control spending with virtually no accountability within the administration and no oversight by the New Rochelle Board of Education.

Talk of the Sound has for years reported on the rigged-bid contracts, the thievery and misappropriation, the wasteful spending and bloated bureaucracy that shifts resources away from the classroom into the pockets of favored contractors, members of the friends and family network and various apparatchiks and hangers-on. But nowhere is the impact of the district's decade-long spending binge been more apparent than in the massive increase in the scale and scope of spending on administrative salaries and benefits.

RichardOrganisciak.jpgThis increase is despite of the supposed salary freeze that Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak claimed he and his cabinet voluntarily offered to take in 2011. Under the contract he signed in 2008, Organisciak's salary was increased from $263,250 to $266,500. Organisciak was to forego the next pay increase in his contract in January 2012. Instead, he signed a new contract. His budgeted salary for 2012-13 is $272,975 with a total compensation package worth $331,414. The district has never produced a clear explanation what happened with the "salary freeze" after the contract was signed or published a copy of the Superintendent's contract and that of his cabinet members: John Quinn, Diane Massimo, Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff and Reza Kohlifar.

RELATED: Inflation Rate Calculator

New Rochelle Board of Education Budget Appendix C 2002-2003.pdf

New Rochelle Board of Education Budget Appendix C 2012-2013.pdf

There are 10 Comments

This is why adverage earners are threatened year after year because of these OVERPAID, OVERBEARING New Rochelle School District Officials.

First of all, we DON'T need ALL these people!
These individuals should definately BE on the budget chopping block! Instead, THEY go after the SMALL earners who need every dollare just to survive!

Why is this allowed? Because the ENTIRE school district and City Hall is SO CORRUPT!!!!

I think Mr. Cox should see he could get a letter to the Governor to do a SEVERE INTERNAL AUDIT!

The solution is clear, GET THEM ALL THE HELL OUT!

What are the checks and balances here? Are there any? Are we too late?

To me it is too crazy that a well loved teacher who has touched the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of students during their 10 years of teaching is terminated due to lack of funding when the budget increases for administrators (that portion above and beyond the cost of living) has increase enough to keep that teacher and hire 10 more.

Am I alone to think this is crazy? We should have a line item budget vote for the school budget. You work for us, let us tell you how to run and administer the schools because you are out of control.


One of the problems the CAC discovered in their analysis of NRSD finances was the issue of administrator compensation. The BOE has resisted implementing the reforms called for by the CAC. Additionally they have dragged their on the re-establishment of the CAC. There has been some discussion of expanding the CAC to include representatives from all the schools. This would be a ploy to stock the committee with financial illiterates in order to make it ineffective. CAC representatives need to be selected on one criteria; financial competence. The committee should be no larger then six. Additionally the CAC needs to be in place by September. This would give them enough time to get recommendations implemented this year.

If you wonder why administrators are able to get away with these types of compensation increases it is because the BOE is oblivious to what is going on.

I agreed with your comment about the CAC and their analysis of NRSD finances. I do take an exception stating that a committee should be no larger than six. I feel each and every school should be represented and that would mean eleven should be on the committee. I feel certain areas of New Rochelle have not been represented and that has to stop.

Robert Cox's picture


You are entirely, utterly wrong.

You have a fundamental misunderstanding of the need that drove the creation of the CAC, the work the CAC did and the nature of the recommendations made.

The CAC was intended to address a glaring weakness in the board -- a dearth of financial expertise. The purpose of the CAC was/is to provide the Board of Education a resource of fellow New Rochelle residents who are experts in the field of finance and accounting, a reservoir of expertise they can draw on before, during and after the budget process. This is meant to be an appointed committee of experts not a representative legislative body and so having one person from each school is entirely irrelevant.

The public school buildings already have an existing infrastructure to communicate needs and concerns at the building level from the key stakeholders -- parents, students, teachers and staff. It is the PTA. Perhaps you can explain your reasoning but the PTAs are perfectly well-suited to have dialog with the CAC, provide input, and respond to the recommendations of the CAC. They are not well-suited to performing complex financial analysis. The PTA is actively involved with the board already, has been operating for many years and despite this has never even attempted let along produced the sort of analysis and insight provided by the pilot CAC committee in four weeks.

Further, there are more people in New Rochelle who are not students and do not have children who are students in the New Rochelle public schools. What about them? What about ethnicity, race, gender, religion or lackthereof, what about geography, demography. It should become apparent that you can come with infinite ways to add more and more people to the CAC. This is why the Mayor now has a similar committee with about 40 people on it that largely finds itself incapable of functioning.

I flatly reject the notion that just anyone can parachute into a complex discussion about a notoriously incomprehensible document like the school budget and add value. It is not the job of the financially sophisticated members of a CAC to educate the unsophisticated and uneducated and inexperienced. This is a committee intended to support the board by giving them access to financial experts at no cost. All you will accomplish by encouraging the idea of committee bloat is drive away the best and most talented people and attract the worst and least informed.

The only people who want that are people who wish to kill the CAC and, if unable to do that, will pack it so full of deadweight it will flounder and sink of its own weight.

You might want to consider that the Board of Education has 9 members. The idea that a committee they create should have more members that the board itself it ludicrous. Even the board with 4 members had one person on there who admitted to having never read the school budget before and had absolutely no financial background. I would support any number from 4 up to less than 9 or 4-8. Six is about right but I would want an odd number so I would go with 7.

We will be discussing this on the radio show at 4 pm

It's hard to know where to begin, but I think what happens in the school district mirrors what happens outside of the district, in the city administration.

Specifically, we have a culture here that would rather remove a competent teacher than an unnecessary bureaucrat. The same holds up in City Hall, remove a fireman, policeman, sanitation worker but spare the layers of saturated and situated fat that inhabit the exempt, supervisory positions in City Hall.

It is worse and I would submit that some form of unified action is necessary and we probably would profit from less quarreling among ourselves on smaller points. The larger points suggest.

1. system is concretized and even considerable improvement in board leadership cannot in itself, turn things around. We have multiple years of financial issues, management issues and, lurking just around the corner are significant financial assessment issues as the infrastructure housing the students is crumbling, more schools are needed and for Pete's sake, one high school?

2. the voters in New Rochelle are significantly represented by the North end. They need to understand the core issues of decline the district is facing as well as being less of a helicopter parent and more of a grounded citizen.

. do you know that Organisciak is the management representative on third party negotiations? Do you know that this man has reached his legal of incompetence, to quote Thomas Peters, sometime during the Pleistocene Age.

. Now his direct reports leave plenty to be desired and even if we reduced plenty to some, it still requires remedial action.

. the craftiest manager in the system is the FUSE or Union Representative, Martin Daly. He has no trouble making our mice squeak. What this means is that WE HAVE NOT had anything remotely resembling strong negotiations where our management team lays out a list of negotiable demands and makes inroads into a skewed pro labor contract.

Yes, of course there are unfunded mandates, and the government has reduced funding, so welcome to 2012. Live with it and manage by it.

sadly, our instructional cadre is more than adequate. the system has lots of the forementioned Mr. Rabati. But, they are frustrated by a cadre of managers, supervisors, consultants, and this, coupled with changes in our children's approach to enducation and, etc. etc. is a very real issue to them.

If parents were more in touch and in tune with the decline in our district and the overall difficulties of educating people in this less than vavorable age, perhaps they would get off their duffs and work to make a different. Not in the PA but in the City.

Why the City? Look I have talked until I am green in the face about the direct relationship the city administration has with the functioning of the school district. It is oxymoronic to think that we can attract investors, residents, even visitors to a city in which our city fathers, when questioned on the topic throw up their hands and say, "not my problem.

well it is! And I would be a tad happier if my fellow posters would see this as well. It is like Poe's epic "Purloined Letter." It is in plain sight and maybe that is part of the problem.

Both the City and the School District Of New Rochelle are more poorly managed than they are poorly funded.

I continue to urge the City Council to breath new life into the Comprehensive Plan by approaching matters in terms of our core issues that involve proper revenue not bogus fee income and to put a sharp pencil to budgets and look at 515 North avenue before you even risk the health and welfare of the community by laying off firemen, policemen and sanitation workers. But the call has gone unanswered. We have a brilliant man at the helm who has redefined the operational defintion of "ceremonial" while never having met a payroll in his life.

And, in the District, we have a remaining small core of board members who are clueless. They huff and puff and love words like pedagic, educators, etc. but haven't the slightest idea of how to run a district of this size. If they knew what overhead and policy meant, we would have a new superintendent, not a hack from Suffolk County who is marginal at best. We have three or so sitting board members who could make a difference. Begin by tearing down this "sweetheart" agreement with the Union.

Finally, the greatest enablers are in the community. Don't expect too much of the electorate process if people do not understand the ramifications of what the core issues are in New Rochelle and the direction the City is traveling in.

Start by not "going gently into the dark night and rail at the dimming of the light" That means powering up your love of your family, your children and your explict responsibilty as a citizen for the familes and children of others.

You don't have to hate, to be overly critical. You mostly have to be open and care.

Look inward angels. Forwear your politically correct, social engineer oughts and address the real problems. If kids are anti-societal, help quelch that. If school results are failing, demand a revisit of the curricula and mostly, get rid of the incompetent administrators in the schools and head office without mercy.

Then turn your attention to the Council. Stop being delusional. The City is in rough shape. You can be kind. If you hear B.S. you can label it Sophistry. But label it.

Start with something simple like.

1. I am a taxpayer so how come you don't have any direct relationship with the school distrct.

. you want to lay off firefighers and police? My safety trumps your inefficiency. Look inward.

. didn't the apolplexic City Manager say that the recent mislabeled Garbage FEE was the right number; that it paid for DPW. Good, now call it a tax and let go of a few head office people to show your respect for your own forecast.

. you mean we want to build more substantial residential units that bring no income to speak of while having no attractive spending retail alternatives in town so if they chose to put the car away and walk to Main, there was something to buy.

. they are vorried about safety you say? great put up cameras, and park and walk patrols with reduced sstaff. Yeah, the baseball bat left a bulge on my head but none in my wallet. Gee, maybe you got the bad guys on camera. YOu know the guys that figured out how to time a park and walk.

Enough. Check the City Charter, 1996 Comprehensive Plan, the public records of political contributions, do a running rate analysis of trend data on graduation rates, student productivity and

you get the government you deserve. have a nice day.

The responsibility lies with the people,

It is not just the responsibility of Bob Cox. As a journalist he can get the facts out, but to get the point across further, the people must speak. Speak loudly because the School Board and City Hall don’t have on their listening ears. A better Idea is for all of you and a great many more of the citizens of New Rochelle who feel this way should write to City Hall and the Governor’s office. It’s an election year, go even higher and see what can happen. If the response and outrage to this article was as great as the sex scandals or videos then something might change.Imagine if several thousand letters were sent like the number of views to the posts. People need to get involved in the process or the voices won’t be heard. By the weak one sided turnouts at the elections, the politicians think and know that they have the strong hold and feel they can do whatever works to their personal gain and political benefit.

Begin a letter writing campaign or an on line petition. Speak up, speak out and speak often before it is too late. Some people feel it is already too late and that is why the politicians and their friends on all the committee’s and boards can survive. Believe me, they know it and count on it. It has been that way for a long time and won’t change overnight and by just one letter. If you want change all you need to do is take the first step and hopefully many will follow, even more if you include sex in the information.

Wake up New Rochelle before it is truly too late to instill change that can take hold and last. Change is hard but it is worth the fight. Our fathers and brothers of the past have shown us that.

It's amazing what we let happen and if it wasn't true no one would believe it. Bob Mc Caffrey, your right we need to get involved in numbers, petitions, ;rage numbers vocalizing, protesting.

The problem is most people are apathetic and think they don't make a difference and things won't change. This is exactly what our polititions including the school board administration want us to believe that they are autocrats. The family court judges are exactly the same way they usurp the law - mock the public, are corrupt, self serving and people let them harm families everyday by allowing them to decimate their families. This will stop.

One other aspect is -I talk to a lot of people and sense they are afraid to get involved in relevant issues that effect our pocket book , families and community. It seems most people don't like confrontation.

If we keep this up and let these entities become more and more self serving with their out of control, unjustified pay increases and wasteful spending our taxes will ballon to infinity.

Wherr's are all hundreds (if not thousands) of the New Rochellians who
objected to IKEA. New Rochelle, You better wake up .

Wow, you'd think with unemployment so high salaries might've gone down a little but to be up over 81% shows everyone how out of touch the BoE really is. I guess nothing's competitive in NR.

Why spend half, when you can get your buddy double?

Maybe the district should have a competition to get ideas on ways to save money? Winner could receive a discount of future school tax payments.

John Quinn, Diane Massimo, Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff and Reza Kohlifar.

They make a lot of money, but what do they do that someone isn't doing already?

I've dealt w/Quinn & Korostoff before & I couldn't imagine two better yes men that are useless and we could do without.