Buffalo School Superintendent Would Not Stay Under Proposed Salary Cap

March 3, 2011 Updated Mar 3, 2011 at 12:31 AM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

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March 3, 2011 Updated Mar 3, 2011 at 12:31 AM EDT

Governor Andrew Cuomo took aim at public school superintendents at his state budget address last month. Pointing out the fact that as governor he earns $179,000 a year. Compare that to 40 percent of the state's school superintendents who earn more than $200,000 a year. With the highest paid superintendent bringing home a whopping $386,000.

To level out the salaries, Governor Cuomo proposed a salary cap for superintendents based on student enrollment with the largest districts cut off after hitting $175,000. The new pay structure would save the state $15 million.

Buffalo school superintendent James Williams who earns more than $220,000 annually, says the salary cap would do little to decrease the state's rising $10 billion deficit. When asked if he would stay with the district under the new pay structure he said, "No, I would not stay."

But Williams says he has a better plan, suggesting the governor make all district employees and retirees contribute to their healthcare coverage, restructure the pension plan, and address charter school payments.

Williams also added that the governor's plan would make it hard to attract top-quality candidates to the job.

If the governor's proposal passes the new payment structure would go into effect after each superintendents' current contract expires.