Kaumeyer’s salary targeted at budget workshop
PINE PLAINS — At the Pine Plains Board of Education budget workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 22, the only public comment revolved around the issue of Superintendent Linda Kaumeyer’s salary.Former board member Karen Orton waited until the end of the presentation on potential gap-closing strategies to address the issue.“Before I say this, I want to apologize for sounding like a broken record and apologize to Linda. I’m not talking about people, and I’m not talking about the job they do. I’m talking strictly dollars and cents,” she said.Orton then discussed Kaumeyer’s salary.“The salary of the administrators, specifically the superintendent’s salary, is extremely high and extremely out of whack,” she said.According to the New York State Education Department 2011-12 Administrative Salary Report, Kaumeyer’s current salary is $195,700, with another $49,162 in benefits.“Our superintendent is the highest in Dutchess County, if you exclude the larger districts of Arlington and Poughkeepsie. Our superintendent is also higher than everyone in Columbia County and higher than some in Westchester County,” Orton said.The Poughkeepsie City School District superintendent’s salary is higher than Kaumeyer’s at $233,104, as is the Arlington superintendent’s salary, which is currently at $210,000.Excluding these districts, which have much higher enrollment, Kaumeyer’s salary is higher than other area schools of comparative sizes.The North East (Webutuck) Central School District superintendent’s salary is $159,000; the Dover Union Free School District superintendent’s salary is $145,000; and the Millbrook Central School District superintendent’s salary is $180,731.Orton beckoned Kaumeyer to take action.“I understand you’re under contract, but you need to come down to reality. If you want this budget to pass there has to be a change in that salary, and I know there’s nothing you guys [on the Board of Education] can do about it. It has to be a voluntary thing. You need to come to reality. If you want to pass the budget, that has to change.” she said.Kaumeyer’s responseKaumeyer took a moment to process the comment before responding.“Karen, if I were to take a basket and place $5,900 in it, and I asked people here what community charity or what way that the money could maximize its effect on the community, I’d probably get different suggestions,” she said, “Some would say give some of it to the Pine Plains Community Food Locker. Some would say give it to the libraries. Some people would say give it to the local churches or synagogues, or give some to the HoPP or give some to the Berkshire Taconic Foundation.”Kaumeyer explained that she does indeed give a portion of her salary to the community.“Some people in this audience know that I regularly do that. I’ve essentially given away my raise for the last three years and I will do that again this year,” she said. “That is the commitment that I can make.”Orton then brought up the issue of administration.“I’m a person that believes every building should have a building principal. I’m a believer that we need administrators. But the perception out there is that we’re top heavy in administrators. Our enrollment has gone down 20 percent since I was on the board,” she said.Orton also commented that the budget presentation shown at the meeting did not include any personnel cutbacks from the administration.“I think that you need to look at that. At least give the public the perception, and not just the perception, you really gotta give a look at what your administrators are compared to what your enrollment is,” she said.Kaumeyer had no further comments.Orton finished up by saying, “This may not be my personal idea, but it is out there in the public.”With no further remarks, Kaumeyer then turned the meeting back to discuss upcoming Board of Education meetings and possible budget workshops.The next Pine Plains Board of Education meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. at the Stissing Mountain High School library.