Schenectady City School District’s incoming superintendent Anibal Soler, Jr. will enter the district at a starting salary that will rank him among all but the highest-paid district leaders in the Capital Region.
With a starting salary of $215,000 under the contract unanimously approved by the school board last week, Soler is slated to earn a salary higher than all but three other district superintendents in the nearly 60 districts across seven Capital Region counties.
The superintendents at Shenendehowa, Ballston Spa and Troy school districts all top salaries of $215,000, but Soler is set to make a larger salary at Schenectady next year than Albany Superintendent Kaweeda James, who has led Albany schools since 2017, according to state data on administrator pay. (Since benefits packages range widely among superintendents, some superintendents may have larger total compensation than superintendents with higher salaries.)
Soler’s new position also marks a major pay increase from his previous position as superintendent of the Batavia City School District in Genesee County, where he served as superintendent since January 2020. The Batavia school board late last month approved a 2 percent raise for Soler, adding to a $4,800 raise approved in October that lifted his salary to $164,800, according to an article by The Daily News in Batavia.
Soler is set to take charge in Schenectady on July 19, giving him time to work with outgoing interim Superintendent Aaron Bochniak, who has led the district since the March 2020 departure of former Superintendent Larry Spring. At the time of his resignation, Spring earned an annual salary of $205,000, up from the $181,200 salary Spring started with in the district in 2012.
Soler’s contract extends through June 30, 2025, and requires the school board to meet no later than May of each school year to determine any salary increase for Soler. The contract also enables the board to award additional salary increases above and beyond the May increases “based upon its evaluation of the superintendent’s performance based upon mutually agreed to” performance measures. The board cannot reduce his pay, under the contract. (Soler’s first year salary will be pro-rated to not cover the first 18 days of July.)
The contract, which outlines a July 1 through June 30 annual work year, provides for Soler’s health and dental coverage, of which he is required to pay 20 percent of premium contributions. The contract grants Soler 20 vacation days in his first year on the job, increasing by one vacation day each subsequent year until he reaches a maximum of 25 vacation days a year; Soler can exchange up to 10 vacation days each year for cash payment. Soler can also rollover up to 10 vacation days from one year to the next, so long as he does not exceed 35 accumulated vacation days. Soler will receive 12 sick days each year and be allowed to carryover sick days from one year to the next, capping out at a total of 150 sick days, which cannot be exchanged for cash payment.
The contract outlines a handful of reasons for which Soler can be terminated, including for cause due to “conduct which is prejudicial to the district, including but not limited to neglect of duty, immoral or unethical conduct or breach of contract.” The contract requires Soler to provide 90 days written notice prior to his retirement or resignation.
The move to Schenectady will also mark a major change in the size of the district Soler is charged with overseeing. While Batavia is classified as a small-city school district like Schenectady, the district’s 2019-2020 enrollment reached 2,190 students compared to the nearly 10,000 students in Schenectady.