Carbondale Area School Board members have been saying for some time now that they don’t believe the district can afford to sign superintendent Dr. Dominick Famularo to a new contract at his current terms.  Last week, they made it official when the board decided not to renew Famularo’s contract. 


Carbondale Area School Board members have been saying for some time now that they don’t believe the district can afford to sign superintendent Dr. Dominick Famularo to a new contract at his current terms.  Last week, they made it official when the board decided not to renew Famularo’s contract. 
The NEWS questioned board president Gary Smedley on the issue during a lengthy interview with both him and business manager David Cerra following the board’s Aug. 26 special meeting.  An executive session was held that night to discuss Famularo’s contract, but no action was taken on the matter at the meeting.
Nevertheless, Smedley said the board would have to act soon since, under the terms of Famularo’s current contract, his status with the district had to be addressed at least 150 days before the pact expires in Sept. of 2012.  Otherwise, the contract would have automatically renewed for another five-year term.
Smedley indicated, even back then, that the board members couldn’t allow that to occur.  He noted that renewing Famularo’s five-year contract would cost the district upwards of $1 million in salary and benefits over that five-year period, which he felt was far too high.
He stated that, by not renewing it, the board would be able to rework the contract for the superintendent’s position to substantially reduce those figures.
Smedley also explained that taking action of some kind was crucial considering that the district was one of the hardest-hit in all of Pennsylvania by education cuts in the state budget this year.  Famularo recently told the NEWS that those losses amounted to some $2 million in state subsidies.
And so, with Famularo expected to earn an estimated $190,000 in salary, annuity and benefits for the 2011-12 school year — making him the highest-paid school superintendent in Lackawanna County — the board opted to make the move last week.
During a meeting on Wednesday night, Nov. 16, the board voted 6-3 to not renew Famularo’s contract.  Directors Tracey Andrews, Diane Harrity and Nancy Mark opposed the motion.
Smedley said being one of the hardest-hit districts in regard to state cuts, combined with Famularo being the highest-paid superintendent in the county, made the change necessary.  However, Famularo will be able to reapply for the position.
The NEWS’ attempts to reach Famularo for comment before this edition of the newspaper went to print were unsuccessful.
Andrews said the board should have renegotiated the terms of a new contract with Famularo rather than canceling out a new contract altogether.
“When the board brought Dr. Famularo in as superintendent in 2004, this district was $500,000 in the hole and the state was getting ready to come in and take over,” she recounted.  “He pulled us back out of all that through his educational background and financial wisdom.”
“The man has saved this district millions of dollars and brought our education to a whole new level,” Andrews added.  “It’s going to put us in a very tough situation trying to replace someone like him.”