By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
More than a month after the Grand Island Board of Education passed two resolutions on secret agreements, the administration of the Grand Island Central School District revealed Wednesday what those votes were about.
At its Dec. 11 meeting, the Grand Island Board of Education voted on two resolutions that weren't on the meeting agenda. Without discussion, the board passed resolutions that said:
"PI 4. RESOLVED, that the Board of Education of the Grand Island Central School District hereby approves, as presented and revised, the first agreement discussed in the immediately preceding executive session of the board.
"PI 5. RESOLVED, that the Board of Education of the Grand Island Central School District hereby approves, as presented, the second agreement discussed in the immediately preceding executive session of the board."
District Clerk Jude Kuehne provided the agreements in response to a Freedom of Information Law request by the Dispatch. PI5, which was passed unanimously by the board, was a sabbatical leave for Kerri Nowak, a tenured principal in the district at Huth Road Elementary School.
The agreement was Nowak's "irrevocable resignation from all appointments to employment with the district effective at the close of business on June 30, 2018."
Meanwhile, Nowak is on paid sabbatical leave pursuant to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the district and administrator's union.
"The employee hereby waives any and all rights to be placed on a preferred eligibility list or to be recalled to a position as an administrator or otherwise with the district and additionally agrees not to file an application to be rehired or otherwise seek reemployment by the district in the future," the agreement said.
The district agrees to continue to compensate Nowak at her a current base rate pay through June 30.
Nowak agreed to waive any health coverage through June 30, 2018, as well as any and all rights to health insurance waiver payments in lieu of coverage.
The agreement said Nowak "shall not be present on any district property or in any district facility without the written permission of the superintendent during such time."
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Graham said after the Dec. 11 meeting that the board approved a sabbatical leave "for her to engage in educational studies," though educational studies isn't mentioned in the agreement.
In addition to her paid sabbatical leave, Nowak will receive two lump sum payments totaling $30,000.
The agreement said, "The district agrees that with within 30 days of the effective date of the employee' resignation, a payment of $18,500 shall be paid into a qualifying 403(b) account of the employee's choosing in consideration of any unused vacation and/or sick days she may have accrued as of the date of this agreement; additionally, a final payment of $11,500 shall be paid into the same qualifying 403(b) account in January of 2019."
Nowak agreed that she will not pursue legal action against the district or the district's employees, officers or board members relating to her current employment.
Nowak was granted tenure in 2012. In Nowak's annual evaluation in 2012, then-Superintendent of Schools Robert W. Christmann wrote of Nowak, "She is a reflective professional who sets goals for her school and herself and through a good professional decision making process has progressed to achieve strong results.
"Kerri has met or exceed the district's standards for administrative tenure. Her great understanding of curriculum, instruction and technology has contributed to that success."
The other agreement, unrelated to the agreement with Nowak, concerned Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Robert McDow.
The board passed a resolution in 2014 granting McDow a probationary appointment in the tenure area of school business official for three years ending on Jan. 5, 2018.
At the Dec. 11 meeting, the board voted 4-3 to appoint McDow "to an additional non-tenure-bearing period of probation in the school business official tenure area beginning on Jan. 1, and ending June 30."
The agreement also said: "During this additional period of probation, McDow shall have the same status and rights to which he is entitled during the last year of his probationary period.
"During this additional period of probation, McDow will work on the goals established within an improvement plan in an effort to demonstrate progress as it relates to job performance.
"In this connection, McDow agrees to waive the application of the provisions of Sections 3012 and 3031 of the education law, as well as any other provisions of constitution, law, rule or regulation, with respect to McDow not being recommended for and/or not being granted tenure at the conclusion of his probationary period on June 30, 2018; further, he agrees not to initiate any type of legal action related to any failure to comply with any provision of constitution, law, rule or regulation, with respect to McDow not being recommended for and/or not being granted tenure at the end of his probationary period on June 30, 2018.
"This agreement is made by the parties solely to extend the term of McDow's probationary period," the agreement says.
The Grand Island Board of Education will next meet in a joint meeting with the Grand Island Town Board at 6:30 p.m. in the Professional Development Room of Grand Island High School, 1100 Ransom Road.
Board of Education meetings air on Spectrum Channel 22 at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.
Board of Education Trustees
- President: Lisa Pyc
- Vice President: Donna Tomkins
- Trustees: Glenn Bobeck, Susan Marston, Richard D'Agostino, Joy LaMarca and Ashli Dreher
- Superintendent: Dr. Brian Graham
- District Clerk: Jude Kuehne
- Send comments to the board at [email protected].