Oysterponds superintendent likely to take Wainscott post

Dr. Stuard Rachlin

Dr. Stuart Rachlin expects to learn Friday whether he will be chosen as part-time superintendent of the Wainscott School District. Currently the part-time superintendent at Oysterponds, he met with the Wainscott Board of Education Monday night and later said he was told to expect a decision by Friday.

If he gets the job, Dr. Rachlin said he would continue to serve Oysterponds until June 30, working two days a week and attending meetings as necessary. By then, the board hopes to have appointed a replacement part-time superintendent and full-time principal.

The Wainscott job would involve about two days a week and would start after Wainscott’s Superintendent Dominic Annacone retires on Saturday. He has held the post for 14 years.

Dr. Rachlin was one of two finalists for the job, vying with former Amagansett superintendent Dr. George Aman. But Dr. Aman withdrew his name from consideration last week after deciding he preferred to remain a member of the East Hampton Board of Education, to which he was elected in May.

During a brief telephone interview Friday morning, Wainscott Board of Education president Nancy McCaffrey said her board hadn’t yet officially decided to appoint Dr. Rachlin. “It’s pretty sure unless something unexpected were to happen,” she said.

On Jan. 5, Dr. Rachlin appeared at an event to meet the public in Wainscott. Introducing himself to the handful of parents who showed up at that meeting, Dr. Rachlin said the reason for his early retirement from Oysterponds, one year before his contract was to expire June 30, 2012, was that it would enable the board there to move forward with a money-saving plan to hire a part-time superintendent and full-time principal. He has held both positions full-time. He said he had given  Oysterponds a chance to move more quickly to generate savings while providing him a retirement incentive.

That incentive is a $100,000 buyout of his contract with full insurance benefits for himself and his wife. His salary for the 2011-12 school year would have topped $200,000 plus benefits. The Wainscott post is expected to pay $45,000 to $50,000.

Dr. Rachlin is working 20 hours a week through June 30 in Oysterponds, generally on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and will attend meetings as requested. If he gets the Wainscott post, he will be expected to keep a schedule similar to Dr. Annacone’s.

Wainscott is able to be flexible with its requirements for Dr. Rachlin, Ms. McCaffrey said. Dr. Rachlin told Wainscott officials he thought Oysterponds could also be flexible through the end of his contract in June.

After closing its deal with Dr. Rachlin, Oysterponds hired Joan Frisicano, a former Sag Harbor elementary school principal, as interim principal. She will continue in the post until the board hires a permanent full-time principal.

Some concern arose last week about whether Ms. Frisicano had obtained a waiver from the New York State Education Department to earn more than $30,000 from Oysterponds as a retiree. Given that her salary is $800 per day, that limit will be reached in less than two months. Ms. Frisicano needed either the state waiver or a waiver from her retirement system to suspend her benefits.

The necessary waiver is in the hands of the state education department, Dr. Rachlin said.

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