Tuckahoe Superintendent of Schools Joseph Chris Dyer has turned down an administrative position in upstate New York and will remain the head of the Tuckahoe district—potentially, with a hefty raise.
In October, Mr. Dyer had said he would be leaving the one-school district later this year to take the helm of the four-school Susquehanna Valley School District in Conklin. But after spending the last several weeks in private negotiations with the Susquehanna Valley School Board discussing his contract, an accord could not be reached.
This week, he said that with the recent failed merger vote, he still has unfinished business on the East End, and has decided to stay.
According to Mr. Dyer, his current contract as Tuckahoe superintendent was slated to expire in June 2015; however, a new deal is being drafted that will extend the contract and increase his salary from $158,000 to roughly $190,000, although that figure has not yet been finalized. The raise would be his first since taking charge of the district in August 2010.
Since joining the district, Mr. Dyer has worked with the three-member Tuckahoe School Board toward a merger with the neighboring Southampton School District. Last month, Southampton voters for the second time rejected the merger proposal, leaving the future of the Tuckahoe School District in question.
This week, Mr. Dyer said deciding to stay at Tuckahoe had been a tough decision, but that ultimately he did not want to leave the district in such uncertain times when he feels he can help.
“I really appreciated the hard work the Tuckahoe and Southampton communities put forth for the merger, and I just see that there is unsettled work that needs to be completed from the standpoint of the future for our kids,” he said on Tuesday. “I would like to be a part of that. This is a wonderful community and a wonderful school.”
Mr. Dyer said his focus now is on the future of Tuckahoe. He said that although the district still feels a merger with Southampton would be the best solution for students, the administrative team will consider all options for mergers, tuition deals and district finances so that the district can remain financially viable for the next few years. The district, he said, is also working to share more services with other East End schools to save money.
Recently, Mr. Dyer confirmed, the district also met with the Board of Education from the Westhampton Beach School District, where some Tuckahoe students attend high school, and which has extended an invitation to future students if they end up not attending Southampton High School.
“I am excited to be here and to continue working with the folks of Southampton to see what we can do to be educationally responsible in the future,” Mr. Dyer said. “Value-based, you could not ask for a better place to be or for a better community to serve.”
This week, School Board President Bob Grisnik said the board is happy to keep Mr. Dyer at Tuckahoe and looking forward to working toward reaching Tuckahoe’s educational goals in the future.
“The district is very happy that he has decided to stay with us,” Mr. Grisnik said. “He has led us over the last four years into the merger talks, and since the vote was negative, we still have a ways to go, and we expect him to lead us into that future.”