Sag Harbor Schools, Superintendent Reach Two-Year Contract Agreement

Sag Harbor superintendent Katy Graves speaks to journalists inside a classroom in the former Stella Maris Regional School, which is now owned by the Sag Harbor School District.
Katy Graves

By Christine Sampson

The Sag Harbor School Board on Monday approved a two-year contract for superintendent Katy Graves, which represented a departure from the one-year extension she was originally offered in June. The contract was approved with a 5-1 vote.

Board member Chris Tice cast the lone dissenting vote, and board member Susan Lamontagne was absent. The board went into executive session to discuss the final terms of Ms. Graves’s contract just before they took their final vote. The vote to go into executive session was 4-2, with vice president January Kerr and board member Alex Kriegsman voting “no.”

“I think it’s fiscally irresponsible to do more than a one-year rollover,” Ms. Tice said after the board emerged from executive session. Several years ago, she said, the Sag Harbor School District had to buy out a superintendent’s multi-year contract, and just last year the Southampton School District paid its superintendent more than $300,000 when they parted ways.

“The vast majority of districts in the state do [single-year contracts] and that is because it gives the board and the school district the most flexibility,” Ms. Tice continued. “This has nothing to do with the individual. This has to do with how we’ve been doing it since that payout.”

Board member Tommy John Schiavoni said he has seen districts offer their superintendents multiple-year contracts. Indeed, in June of 2015, the East Hampton School Board offered superintendent Richard Burns a three-year contract extension.

“I’m happy that we have seen some continuity with our superintendent,” Mr. Schiavoni said. “I firmly support a multi-year contract for the stability of the school.”

Ms. Graves will also receive a 1.9-percent salary increase, to $228,828, as part of her new contract, which will extend her time in Sag Harbor to June 30, 2020. The rest of it largely remains the same, such as the district’s 75-percent contribution to her health care costs, the receipt of a computer and cell phone from the district and 24 vacation days.