For one day in January, Dr. Edward Fale will not be the superintendent of Valley Stream District 24.
Last week, the Board of Education approved a deal that would allow Fale to retire, then bring him back at a lower salary. His retirement will take effect on Dec. 31 and will begin collecting his state pension. On Jan. 2, he will be re-hired as the superintendent with an annual salary of $130,000, a reduction from the $244,500 per year he now makes.
The seven-member Board of Education unanimously approved this deal at its Dec. 12 meeting. Although deals like this, where an employee collects a pension and a salary at the same time, have been criticized elsewhere, no one from the public spoke out against this arrangement at either of two board meetings held since the plan was first made public.
Steve Rubenstein, past president of the Brooklyn Avenue School PTA who was in attendance at the Dec. 12 meeting, said Fale is well liked among the parents. “He’s going to be saving us some money by doing what he’s doing,” Rubenstein said. “He could just walk away and he’s not.”
Since he is 65, Fale is legally allowed to collect a pension and a full salary. Fale said he and the board agreed on $130,000 because it is equivalent to a principal’s salary, while less than what any other superintendent in the county makes. “It’s a district that I love,” he said. “Because I care for the district so much, I can do the position without a full salary.”
According to Fale, his annual pension will be about $151,000 a year. “[It] is something I would get anyway if I were to retire and it’s something I’ve contributed to,” he said, adding that he has been in the state retirement system consistently since 1982.
Fale’s new contract will run from Jan. 2, 2014, through June 30, 2017. District officials say they expect to save about $570,000 over the life of that deal. In addition to paying the superintendent a reduced salary, it will also no longer have to contribute to the New York State Retirement System for Fale.
The new contract provides a provision for Fale to get raises, if the board chooses to do so. He will receive 20 vacation days per year and 18 sick days. Unlike his previous contract, Fale cannot be paid for unused sick days.