Malverne Schools Chief Gets Pay Raise, Contract Extension

Resolution approved by school board grants raises to administrators, extends superintendent's contract.

The Malverne Board of Education granted a 2 percent salary increase and a two-year contract extension to the district's superintendent, Dr. James Hunderfund, earlier this month.

The action was taken during when four out of five trustees approved a resolution that also granted raises to other administrators and support staff. 

Hunderfund, who earns $235,235 annually, according to the 2012-2013 NYSED Administrative Compensation Information, will get the 2-percent annual raise as a lump sum payment, which will be taken as an addition to his 403b retirement annuity. His contract was extended to June 30, 2015. (Before coming to Malverne, Hunderfund retired from the Commack School District with a maximum annual pension of $316,497, . Therefore, Hunderfund does not receive a pension from Malverne, nor does the district contribute to his health benefits, saving them roughly $50,000 annually, according to a school official.) 

The resolution also granted 3 percent raises to the district's two other top officials - Assistant Superintendent for District Operations Spiro Colaitis and Deputy Superintendent Richard Banyon, who earn $149,684 and $194,760, respectively. Four Central Office staffers received 2 percent raises and a 4 percent annual increase was granted to Business Administrator Thomas McDaid, who told Patch that the administration had taken a salary freeze for the 2011-2012 school year.

With the board's approval, the resolution authorized the newly elected Board of Education President Peg O'Connor to execute amendments to the employment agreements for these individuals, effective July 1, 2012. 

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When asked why the board granted the salary increase and contract extension for Hunderfund, and whether the superintendent had been formally evaluated, O'Connor issued the following statement: 

Dr. Hunderfund works closely with the Board every single day and receives evaluative feedback on a consistent basis. The Board of Education has held discussions regarding Dr. Hunderfund's leadership performance and is very pleased with his role as our Superintendent of Schools, which is why the contract was extended. Malverne continues to gain from having one of Long Island's most experienced Superintendents, whose salary is less than the Nassau County average for Superintendents, and who receives no health insurance benefits or matching pension contributions, saving the district significant expense.

O'Connor was among the four school board members who voted in favor of passing the resolution, along with Danielle Hopkins, and newcomers and . Trustee Gina Genti voted against it.

Genti was absent from the executive session held prior to the business meeting and therefore, missed the closed-door discussion of the resolution. When she asked, during the public meeting, about it, an attorney for the board said that her question should be reserved for executive session.

The lawyer also explained that the resolution was a late addition to the July 10 meeting agenda. It was not included in the , which had been revised on July 9, that was shared with Patch. The resolution was added after the board voted in executive session to amend the agenda to bring the issue forward.

O'Connor refused to disclose any information to Genti or residents present at the meeting other than explaining that the resolution pertained to salary changes for non-union employees. 

Citing board policy, Hopkins and Bottitta said they could not comment on the resolution when contacted by Patch this week. Taylor, also declined to answer questions. Instead, he stated via email that the "Malverne School district is headed for a change in a positive direction" but said Patch, and other community members and board members "do not represent the change."

He criticized Patch for reporting "negative" stories such as that the roof at Malverne High School was covered under warranty before asking voters to approve a capital project, and "spinning the truth for egotistical associates in the communities of Malverne and Lakeview."

Taylor added, "Malverne School district is a very good school district with a great upside and I recommend that you seek the beauty in the school district when writing your articles."

The raises will come out of the district's . (The board includes money in the budget for potential expenses such as raises and charter school tuition, but if you were to look at the line-by-line budget, you won't find specific lines for these anticipated costs, McDaid explained. It's hard to predict these costs and in the case of raises, it would be a disadvantage when negotiating contracts.)

The 2012-2013 budget that residents approved in May eliminated two administrative positions (resulting in the consolidation of the Math, Science, English and Social Studies department chairs), two custodians, two security positions and six Full Time Equivalent (FTE) teaching positions. The faculty cuts included a full-time psychologist and reductions in part-time positions in the areas of ELA, Social Studies, Health and Phys. Ed., Art, Music, Science and Library, resulting in increased class sizes. The jobs of two full-time faculty were saved, bringing the total number of FTE reductions down to four, when two teachers opted to retire.

The adopted budget also eliminated summer school (with the exception of Regents prep), summer recreation, and non-instructional field trips, and reduced art, music and library in the elementary schools, music lessons, K-12 co-curricular activities and clubs, athletic programs for Grades 7-12, BOCES services and non-mandated elective courses in the high school.

Additional reporting by Jordan Lauterbach.

Latrell Spreewell August 01, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Lets be honest its tough to live on a $316,000 pension and a $235,000 salary. I mean he must have been just scraping along. How could he be expected to put food on the table for that little? A raise was justified.
jc108 August 01, 2012 at 02:14 PM
The board approves of Dr Henderfund performance ,what about the kids performance? Why is this man being rewarded. In the real world he would be looking for a job. And his health benefits and pension are already being paid for by the taxpayers.
fredo August 01, 2012 at 02:46 PM
"Whether anyone voted for me or not, we have to come together now and get to the next level..." - Joey Bottita I guess what she meant was next level of salary and benefits.
Clioscribe August 01, 2012 at 03:01 PM
I love that Taylor criticizes the press for telling the truth!! We are NOT all SHEEP, like you Michael Taylor!!!
Clioscribe August 01, 2012 at 03:20 PM
What I really want to know - what "reward" are certain board members getting for being loyal to the admin instead of the voters?!?!?
Clark Griswold August 01, 2012 at 04:27 PM
So let me get this straight. They have eliminated summer school, summer recreation and non instructional field trips. They also reduced the budgets for art, music, library clubs, athletic programs, BOCES services and electives in the High School in order to free up money to line the pockets of the administrators. Then they become outraged when a journalist ask legitimate questions about the way this was all done. Then just to prove they don't need the money they immediately put it in their 403B to avoid taxes. I wonder if they are receiving a match to the 403B contribution in lieu of contrubutions to the pension which they are not legally allowed to participate in because they are already collecting a pension from the TRS. I think the president and the members of the BOE who are in collusion with the very people they are supposed to control should be impeached. Government employees at every level are experiencing pay freezes and these nit wits seem to think that the taxpayers of SD12 should continue to have their pockets picked. I am sure in this economy there are talented people out there that would do these job for a fraction of what these "pigs" are demanding. Good schools are important to maintain property values but so are affordable school taxes.
fredo August 01, 2012 at 04:45 PM
They are also paying the 2% raise as a lump sum. I see the "beauty" in that Mr. Taylor - get a raise and don't have to work all year for it. Get it all paid in advance.
Kathleen August 01, 2012 at 07:03 PM
This is just disheartening. These raises- done totally in secret- are a slap in the face of all. So many positions and programs were eliminated in the recent budget. Then, suddenly, money appears for these raises. Where did this money come from? I am just disgusted. Thank goodness we do have people like Tara reporting for us, so issues can be brought to light. The only reason her reports sound "negative" is because the actions of administration and the Board are negative. Maybe Dr. Hunderfund should be giving a "State of the Schools" speech, so the taxpayers know all the fabulous things coming to our schools and students that Mr. Taylor alludes to. Because right now, I'm not sure anyone sees this bright future for the students. The way it looks right now, our kids are mostly looking forward to test practice because just about every other program has been eliminated.
Lorraine DeVita August 01, 2012 at 07:21 PM
hey atleast your sup takes a damn fine picture! hes smiling- or is he LHAO- and you actualy VOTED for these people?
Gina Genti August 01, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Tara Conry was the end of this piece omitted or edited? When reading it ends mid sentence at a Tom McDaid quote.
Tara Conry (Editor) August 01, 2012 at 09:11 PM
I did update the story with information regarding where the money came from, which you'll find in the third to last paragraph. (The sentence fragment you refer to was an error and has since been deleted. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.)
Heidi August 03, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Fellow Citizens of Malverne: The next move is yours. What are you prepared to do about the absence of Mavernians from the Malverne School District? Let’s please all be honest with each other. We know that 80% of our children attend private school after fifth grade. (“It’s okay until middle school” is a popular Malvernian saying.) When the mayor of the town doesn’t send her son through the Malverne School District, it’s truly an indictment of Malverne’s schools. Please don’t use the religious argument to justify why you hemorrhage thousands of dollars to send your children to parochial schools. We live in Malverne, not Bethlehem. If you really thought that the schools were even acceptable, you wouldn’t overburden yourself and your family with the high cost of private school. So, what is the solution?
Heidi August 03, 2012 at 05:00 PM
For this upcoming school year, if every parent in Malverne sends their children to district schools, we could significantly raise school scores, save a truckload of money, and raise our property values. Every Long Islander knows that property values are directly tied in to the prosperity of the school district. If we all sent our children to Malverne schools, we would not only benefit from great teachers, but also exponentially raise our property values. Do you really think that the teachers in Cold Spring Harbor are any better than the teachers in Malverne? We are acting irresponsibly when we refuse to enroll our children in Malverne schools. We are killing our local school and home values, thereby shortchanging ourselves and our children. Did you know that a good percentage of your property taxes are pumped into the school district? People like Hunderfund will always exist to leech off of your tax dollars, but don’t let that sad reality stand in your way of taking back the Malverne School District. I ask all of us to enroll our children in Malverne schools for the upcoming school year. Our children are smart; you’ve done a great job raising them, yet after elementary school, you freak out and send them to St. Whoever. Give yourselves more credit as parents and humans. Let us enroll our children in Malverne schools and reclaim our school district and property values. Make Hunderfund actually work for one of the raises that the Board of Education feeds him.
Heidi August 03, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Yes, your children will be homesteaders. I know that nobody wants to be the first family to jump into the school district’s collective pool. I get it. However, if all of us enroll our children, we could reclaim the school district! Wouldn’t it be nice to use your thousands of dollars previously spent on parochial school for college, investments, vacations, and toys, while simultaneously increasing the value of your home? Malvernians: I ask you as fellow taxpayers to take back the Malverne School District. We can do this. As a united front, it really won’t be that scary. Please save our community while saving yourself thousands of dollars. This is an important grassroots movement. Don’t destroy your community schools, or ruin your property values. We can do this.
Rebecca Serong August 03, 2012 at 05:20 PM
@heidi you try to be very ideological and toy with the issue of why the kids leave after5th grade, but just say it. The people of Malverne do not want their kids mixing with the kids of Lakeview plain and simple
Kathleen August 03, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I live in Malverne. I send my child to Malverne schools, even when I could have easily sent her to another school district. I love the diversity within the schools and school district. "Sameness" is not educational or enriching. Diversity is a key to opening the mind. I would encourage anyone to send their child to Malverne schools for the teachers and the students. I would discourage them because of the messed up priorities of the Board of Education. What I don't love is the lack of transparency of the Administration and Board of Ed.
Heidi August 03, 2012 at 08:33 PM
@ Rebecca I don't understand. Why wouldn't the "people of Malverne" want their children mixing with the "kids of Lakeview"?
BARBARA KELLY August 04, 2012 at 01:23 PM
An outrage, pure and simple. Administrators who are already highly paid get raises, while teachers, a psychologist, summer programs, arts, etc. Every school board member who voted for this should be turned out as soon as possible. They should be ashamed of themselves.
sally August 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM
For one the Mayor of Malverne would not send her child to Malverne district because she does not live in Malverne school district so that argument is not relevant.
Heidi August 06, 2012 at 03:44 AM
"Some people" who live in Malverne choose parochial school? When the vast majority of parents shunt their children away from the town's school district, it's not purely for "the excellent Catholic education." The sad reality is that most students who live in Malverne attend parochial school after Davison or Downing, and I think that is a major slight to children existing as part of a community. How is a call for the community to stop outsourcing its students in any way offensive? Claiming that you "love living in this community" and then running from its schools is offensive. Good schools are a great way to promote community empowerment. Don't obfuscate this fact by turning the issue into some kind of personal holy war.
Heidi August 06, 2012 at 05:49 AM
Since you like to keep informed about the Malverne School District, let me help: School programs are being cut, teachers are losing their jobs, the superintendent got a raise, and parents are educating their children away from the community. As a teacher, can you honestly say that this makes you extremely happy? I'm sure that Hunderfund shares your feelings of joy. No, I'm not happy that people send their children to schools outside of the community. Why is it that every time the issue of actually sending Malverne children to Malverne schools gets mentioned, do parents launch into religious fervor? Is the notion that our community's children attend its schools such a radical idea? The next time you want to write about community, try not to use the first person singular so often.
smg engineer August 06, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Heidi - nice rant about how you feel that people who send their kids to private schools are snobs, and that they somehow owe an obligation to the rest of the community that uses public schools. Get a clue here. With the tax money this district rakes in, and its massive budget, the high school should be turning out ivy-league-bound geniuses every year. How would increases in the number of residents sending their kids to Malverne public schools in any way address the shameful mismanagement, outrageous taxes and excessive pay to do-nothing administrators? Odds are they would use the increased enrollment to try to justify even more outrageous taxing and spending. This district is tiny. It should not even exist. The only sane thing to do is merge it with other districts (many of which face the same problems).
Clark Griswold August 06, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Ok everyone, let's get back on topic. THERE IS NO MONEY FOR RAISES FOR OVERPAID ADMINISTRAORS WHEN PROGRAMS ARE BEING CUT, EMPLOYEES THAT ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTE TO THE EFFORT ARE BEING LAID OFF AND EXCESSIVE SCHOOL TAXES ARE DESTROYING PROPERTY VALUES MORE THAN POOR TEST SCORES!!! As I said previously. there are many talented people out there that could and would do a better job for substantially less $. Now we are stuck with this mutt until 2015.
Andy Bathgate August 06, 2012 at 06:51 PM
So the top 3 pieces of detritus are together taking us for $579,679 per year. And for what ? its honestly time for Malverne residents to get their heads our of the sand and petition the School District to 1. Explore talking to neighboring school districts with an eye towards merging ( if they'll have us ) and 2. THROW THE BUMS OUT
Heidi August 07, 2012 at 05:40 PM
@Smg engineer - I never said that anyone was “a snob.” I’ve noticed that Malverne parents who do send their children to private school are very sensitive about anyone questioning why they are part of an 80% majority. Why is every call for Malverne students to actually attend Malverne schools part of a “rant”? I’m certain that you really do feel a sense of obligation to the community where you live. If you really don’t feel this way, think about your home value. When prospective home buyers discover how many residents send their children elsewhere, it doesn’t take an engineer to know what happens to property value. Do you remember years ago when the topic of merging the Merrick and Roosevelt School Districts was on the table for five minutes? Neither does anyone else.
Heidi August 07, 2012 at 05:41 PM
So much for loving your neighbor as yourself. I give you reality, and you spout self-righteous platitudes. As far as an “excellent Catholic education,” public school teachers actually need education courses and graduate degrees to teach children. If you believe that “many great things are happening” in the Malverne Public School District, then why are your children only able to see the schools from a bus window bound for a school in another town? (Re-read 1 Thessalonians for some guidance on living in a community.) Best of luck in the upcoming school year, and thank you for allowing me to channel my bitterness and anger at the neglect of my community’s school toward someone who I feel is part of the problem.
Kathleen August 10, 2012 at 02:14 PM
If you are interested in letting the Board know you are unhappy with the salary increases, consider signing this petition: https://www.change.org/petitions/the-board-of-education-of-malverne-union-free-school-district-12-rescind-all-recent-salary-increases-for-superintendent-and-administrators Then let your neighbors and friends know they can sign too!
Tara Conry (Editor) August 21, 2012 at 02:41 PM
It looks as if the Malverne Board of Education may be discussing emails they received regarding the salary raises granted to administrators and central office staff at tonight's meeting. You can view the agenda here: http://patch.com/A-xgPF
Jan Kasal December 13, 2012 at 04:24 PM
If you follow the Malverne school district news on a regular basis you are aware that the board of education has recently become an agenda of its own, not leaving much room for any other business. Its conduct has been divisive, obscure, and poisonous. The current school board is a burden and embarrassment to the school district residents. If you are ready to dedicate some time to prepare for the upcoming May 2013 school budget and school board member elections and to change the course, please join others by contacting me at vevajanka@hotmail.com
Mitchell April 14, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Still Going ON. Impeach the Board!!


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