Baldwinsville school board refuses to answer questions about super’s job search, contract extension

Baldwinsville, NY – The Baldwinsville school board is refusing to discuss the unusual announcement that the district’s superintendent is looking for a job just days after the board approved a three-year contract extension and a salary boost.


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Superintendent Matthew J. McDonald also has refused to discuss or answer questions about his decision to seek a new job days after signing the contract extension.

McDonald got a $15,860 pay raise under the new contract. His salary rose from $175,500 in the last contract to $191,360, a 9 percent increase, according to the district and the contract extension.

The extension also gave McDonald a retroactive pay increase for the year ending June 30, 2020, raising his salary to $185,606. His salary originally was $175,500 for the year ending June 30, 2020, district officials said.

Here are some of the questions 5/8 The Post-Standard asked the board:

The announcement that a super is looking for work after getting a three-year extension is highly unusual. Why did the board make the announcement he is looking for work?

When you extended his contract for three years on Sept 21, did you know at that time he was looking for a new job?

If you knew, why did you vote to extend his contract?

How did you find out he was looking for a new job?

When did you find out he was looking for work?

Is the extension part of any agreement with McDonald that he must leave his job as superintendent?

Have you negotiated a severance agreement with McDonald?

Baldwinsville Board of Education President Christina Pavetto Bond would not answer or discuss any of the questions.

In an email she said: “Our Board takes the duty to our Baldwinsville community very seriously and we are trying to discharge that duty to the very best of our ability by communicating what we can. However, we are unable to discuss the details regarding the employment of any individual employee of the district.”

On Sept 29, the board and McDonald announced on the district’s web site that the superintendent is “exploring other career opportunities.” The announcement said there was no definite timeline. The board met in executive session the night before the announcement.

On Sept. 21, the school board unanimously voted to extend McDonald’s contract with the district for three years. His contract now runs through June 30, 2023.

Nicole M. Donvosky, an Ohio lawyer who represents school districts and specializes in contract negotiations, grievances, arbitrations, evaluation, nonrenewal and termination, said getting a contract extension followed by such a rapid job search announcement isn’t typical.

“That sequence isn’t normal,” she said.

Making a public announcement that a superintendent is looking for a new job is a bit “unusual,” she said.

Generally a superintendent won’t announce he or she is looking for other work unless others might know about it, she said. At that point, a decision might be made to tell the community, she said.

The contract extension says the contract can be terminated by agreement of the board and superintendent, or by the superintendent providing 90 days notice. He’s required to help with the process of choosing a successor, if asked to do so, under the contract.

The board has scheduled an executive session at 5 p.m. today to discuss the “the employment of a particular person” and “the appointment of a particular corporation.”

Asked if the meeting is related to the announcement that the superintendent is looking for work, the board president said in an email:

“I cannot discuss the particulars of Executive Session topics, however I can tell you the subject of our 5 pm Executive Session is not the announcement we made to the school community last week,” she wrote.

Following the executive session, there is a regular board meeting at 7 p.m. today to be live-streamed on the district website. The district said anyone who wants to speak is asked to email [email protected] by 6:30 pm. today.

Elizabeth Doran covers education, suburban government and development, breaking news and more. Got a tip, comment or story idea? Contact her anytime at 315-470-3012 or email [email protected]


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