MARLBORO – Superintendent of Schools Eric Hibbs has received a new five-year contract that will allow him to remain the leader of the Marlboro K-8 School District until June 2026. Hibbs was named Marlboro’s superintendent in 2013.
Hibbs had an employment contract in place which was due to expire on June 30, 2022. Board members negotiated a new deal with the superintendent that cancelled his existing contract and put the new agreement in place.
On Feb. 16, board members voted 8-1 to approve the superintendent’s new contract during a meeting that was held in a virtual manner due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Board President Robyn Wolfe, Vice President Randy Heller and board members Patricia Branch, Robert Daniel, Steven Shifrinson, Susan Shrem, Jennifer Silacci and Jill Strafaci voted “yes” on a motion to approve Hibbs’ new contract.
Board member Kathleen Amster voted “no” on the motion to approve the new contract.
Hibbs’ new employment contract includes a base annual salary of $207,376, a raise from $191,584 in his previous contract. Hibbs’ base salary will increase by 2% for each year of his five-year contract.
The superintendent’s new contract also includes three quantitative and two qualitative merit bonus goals which could pay him a potential bonus of up to 14.99% of his base salary.
Hibbs’ previous contract included five merit bonuses with a potential bonus of up to 11.98% of his previous base salary.
Prior to the board’s vote on the superintendent’s new contract, members of the public were allowed to comment.
Some people who objected to the board’s pending approval of the new agreement took issue with granting Hibbs a new contract more than one year before his current contract was due to expire in June 2022; some residents cited personal economic challenges that have arisen during the pandemic; and some people noted there are pending ethics charges against Hibbs that were filed by a former board member in 2019.
The board’s attorney, Marc Zitomer, said Hibbs’ legal team is moving to dismiss the ethics charges.
Some residents who commented on the board’s pending approval of the new contract offered their support for the agreement that will keep Hibbs at the district’s helm for another five years.
Regarding her “no” vote on the motion to approve the new contract, Amster said, “This is not a statement about Dr. Hibbs in any way. I don’t believe any employee of the district should obtain a new contract well before their previous contract is ready to expire. Just because the governor lifted the cap on superintendent salaries is not a sufficient reason enough for us to go along with what everyone else is doing.”
Regarding his “yes” vote on the motion to approve the new contract, Shifrinson said, “I think for us to say no and possibly switch superintendents is dangerous and foolhardy. I think we need the continuity and flexibility.
“Somebody else would say they can’t keep up with the changes that have gone on and are still going on to this day.
“We need Dr. Hibbs’ leadership and history. If you get ill and say they want to go to a new doctor without your medical history and start from scratch … would you really want to do that? I think to not go forth with this (new agreement) is doing the children of Marlboro is a disservice,” Shifrinson said.
Later in the meeting, Hibbs said administrators are working on a plan to move the district’s schedule from the current four half-days per week of in-person instruction to five half-days per week of in-person instruction as the pandemic continues. He did not give a date as to when students may be able to attend school five half-days per week.
Finally, Daniel announced that he plans to resign from the board at the end of the current school year because his family will be moving out of Marlboro.
“I would like to thank my fellow board members, the administration, teachers, students and residents for giving me the opportunity to serve on the board for the last four years,” Daniel said.
“I would like to apologize for the timing as I was elected to serve a three-year term in November. When I decided to run, I fully expected to serve my full three-year term and reside in Marlboro.
“However, in December, the company I work for announced they were becoming a fully remote company and this caused me to rethink a lot of things. My goal for the remainder of my time on the board is returning our students to the classroom in the safest and best way possible,” Daniel said.
Zitomer said the remaining board members will have 65 days to fill the vacancy once Daniel steps down from his position.