ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Rome City School District board members voted at a "special meeting," Wednesday night, to amend Jeffrey Simons, the superintendent's contract, and increase his salary and to give him a stipend to receive his doctorate by a 5:4 vote. Many tax payers question the timing saying, the school is strapped for cash.
Simon's received a $3,102 salary increase for July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, $3,164 for the period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 and $3,228 for the period of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. He also received a partial tuition reimbursement benefit for his doctorate degree.
Dozens of teachers, professionals and community members spoke at the meeting, hoping to pull at the heart strings of the board to vote against the increase. The public had a number of concerns such as that the vote wasn't postponed until the new school board was in place.
Lou Daniello, a board member who voted against raising Simon's salary said, "of those board members, two will no longer be board members after this meeting."
Daniello said those two voted for the increase in Simon's salary.
Another reason the public was concerned with the amendment is that the superintendent will now be reimbursed with taxpayer dollars for his doctorate expenses. The community says Simon's doesn't need a Ph.D. to be superintendent in this district, believing they will be paying for his education to eventually leave for another school district.
The community also spoke about the $400,000 grant recently given to the district by Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica. The purpose of the grant is to rehire teachers who were cut, decrease class sizes and preserve programs for students. The public fears this money will be used for this instead.
Superintendent Simons would not talk to NewsChannel 2 or release a statement. He said he'd have a statement Thursday morning. However, he was seen speaking with several other media outlets.