Oysterponds tells Rachlin he can’t go to Wainscott

The Oysterponds Board of Education is stopping Dr. Stuart Rachlin from taking the job as part-time superintendent in Wainscott unless he agrees to renegotiate the $100,000 buyout of his Oysterponds contract.

By a 5-1 vote Tuesday night with one absent member, board members followed the lead of a former board member who called on them to reject the resolution allowing Dr. Rachlin to take the Wainscott job.

“If this board approves this, I would consider it unbelievable and none of you should show your faces in this community again,” former board member Carl Demarest said.

Board member Thom Gray suggested Dr. Rachlin was negotiating his buyout with Oysterponds at the same time that he was negotiating with Wainscott.

“It’s a little disheartening to learn after the fact that we were being taken advantage of,” he said. “I’m embarrassed. I’m disgusted. I thought I was negotiating with someone who was being honest and up front with us.”

During the meeting, Dr. Rachlin said the negotiations were not simultaneous. Following the meeting he refused further comment.

Wainscott Board of Education president Nancy McCaffrey said Wednesday morning that the superintendent’s negotiations with her district didn’t start until sometime in December. Dr. Rachlin secured the buyout agreement with Oysterponds in mid-November.

However, Eastern Suffolk BOCES screened candidates for the job, making it unclear just when Dr. Rachlin submitted his résumé for the Wainscott job. But it wasn’t until December that BOCES officials recommended him and several other candidates to the Wainscott board for consideration, and it was January before Wainscott settled on a contract with Dr. Rachlin.

Wednesday morning Oysterponds board president Deborah Dumont explained that Dr. Rachlin’s contract with the district, which dates back to 2007, included a provision requiring that he receive permission to negotiate with any other district. That provision was preserved in the buyout agreement, Ms. Dumont said.

The buyout agreement provides that Dr. Rachlin continue to serve Oysterponds through June 30, working 20 hours per week as a part-time superintendent. He is being paid full salary through June 30 and then will get the $100,000 on July 1. In addition, he gets a one-time payment of $30,440.33 for accrued sick and vacation days and 100 percent paid health insurance for himself and his wife for the rest of their lives.

Dr. Rachlin’s contract as full-time superintendent and principal was to expire at the end of June 2012.

“I’m crying,” Ms. McCaffrey said. She hadn’t heard about the Oysterponds vote when reached at her home Wednesday morning and said she couldn’t comment on how her board will act. Dr. Rachlin was expected to begin work in Wainscott Wednesday at a salary of $48,000 a year, to be prorated through June. Prior to the Oysterponds action, Ms. McCaffrey had said she had every expectation that Dr. Rachlin’s contract with Wainscott would be renewed so he would continue after June.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Kathy Syron, the only member to vote for the resolution, said her one concern would be if Dr.

Rachlin were unable to complete his responsibilities in Oysterponds and that isn’t the case. “It’s so unfortunate,” Ms. Syron said in a follow-up interview Wednesday morning, calling the Oysterponds negotiations “separate and distinct from any other opportunities” Dr. Rachlin might pursue.

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