SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady City School District was unable to reach an agreement with the lone finalist for its open superintendent position, leaving the board to head back to the drawing board next week, district officials announced in a release Friday evening.
The terse statement said the school board “regrets to announce it was not successful in reaching a mutual contract agreement with the candidate for superintendent” and that “no further information is available at this time.” The board will meet Wednesday to discuss next steps, according to the release.
Earlier this month, district officials said they were entering negotiations with the sole finalist who made it to a round of interviews with groups of community members and district educators. Another candidate had dropped out prior to those interviews, citing concerns with the pandemic.
Pedro Roman, a former Schenectady school administrator and top district official in the Newburgh school district, was the single candidate presented to the community groups, according to a participant in one of the meetings.
Community members, including the Schenectady chapter of the NAACP, criticized the board for presenting only one candidate to the community groups, arguing the process did not include full community input. The district teachers union also called for greater involvement in evaluating candidates.
It’s not clear where the latest development leaves the district. Acting Superintendent Aaron Bochniak has led the district for over a year and remains in the position. Throughout the search process, board members and Capital Region BOCES Superintendent Anita Murphy, who led the search, left open the possibility that a search would not end with a new superintendent and they may have to start again.
The board was looking to replace former Superintendent Larry Spring, who resigned last year under a non-disclosure agreement after the district conducted an investigation into sexual harassment allegations and is now threatening to sue the district after details of his departure were publicized in the media.
The superintendent search offered a chance for the district to turn over a new leaf as it works to rebuild staff morale and student programs, managing the steep academic challenges created by the pandemic and the millions of dollars in new federal aid.