Update 5:46 p.m.:
Darien Schools Superintendent Stephen Falcone is among the top 10 highest paid superintendents in the state, but he says he's not as well paid as news accounts say he is.
The Journal Register newspapers in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, published a database that listed Falcone as the fifth-highest paid superintendent in the state, with a salary of $252,000. Information in the database came from school districts around the state, according to the report.
But Falcone says it isn't so.
"I think there may have been an error in reporting," he wrote in an email to Darien Patch. "My salary is $222,000 plus $15,000 for a total of 237,000."
He also sent a copy of his contract (see the picture and document attached to this article).
The New Haven Register also posted the same contract on its website, along with those of all or nearly all other school superintendents in the state. The Register's website also states:
"Twenty-seven school superintendents in Connecticut make more than $200,000 per year in salary, with tax sheltered annuities and bonuses for doctorate degrees included."
Neither tax-sheltered annuities nor bonuses for doctorates appear to be mentioned in Falcone's contract.
A $237,000 salary places Falcone 9th on the list of highest-paid school superintendents in the state, rather than 5th.
That salary puts him just a bit higher than Weston's superintendent, Colleen Palmer ($236,060) and a bit less than Region 5 (Woodbridge, Bethany, Orange) Superintendent John Brady ($238,240).
Darien Schools Superintendent Stephen Falcone is the fifth-most well-paid superintendent of any of the 148 public school district in Connecticut, according to a database compiled by a newspaper chain.
Falcone gets $252,000 a year in salary, according to the Journal Register newspapers in Connecticut, which include the New Haven Register. He makes less than the superintendents of Westport, Wilton, Fairfield and Stamford, which (in that order) are the top-earning superintendents in the state. Falcone makes more than the superintendents of Hartford, New Canaan (where Superintendent Mary Kolek was more recently hired), and Ridgefield.
The highest salary among school superintendents in the state goes to Elliot Landon in Westport, who makes $285,000 to run a district with 5,709 students.
TOP 10 SALARIES IN CONNECTICUT'S 148 SCHOOL DISTRICTSDistrict Superintendent
StudentWestport Elliott Landon $285 K 5,709 $49.93 Wilton Gary Richards $268 K 4,378 $61.12 Fairfield David Title $265 K 9,953 $26.57 Stamford Winifred Hamilton $259 K 14,861 $17.45 DARIEN Stephen Falcone $252 K 4,721 $53.38 Hartford Christina Kishimoto $241 K 21,598 $11.16 New Canaan Mary Kolek $240 K 4,089 $58.69 Ridgefield Deborah Low $239 K 5,538 $43.09
Region 5 (Bethany,
Orange)John Brady $238 K 2,488 $95.76 Weston Colleen Palmer $236 K 2,585 $91.32
Source for this and other tables: "Connecticut Superintendents' Salaries" Web page on the New Haven Register website
The database also calculates the "cost per student" of the superintendents' salary. Falcone's is $53.38. Lansford's is $49.93. The very highest cost-per-student superintendents tend to come from very small districts, the database shows.
The highest cost-per-student comes in the salary of Eastford Superintendent Linda Loretz, whose $124,000 salary is for supervising a school district with 185 students. Darien has 4,721 students.
Here's a comparison of the salaries of superintendents who run districts with similar populations to Darien's.District
William C. Collins
The database on the New Haven Register's site also links to a copy of each superintendent's work contract. Here's a link to Falcone's.
Besides their hefty six-figure salaries, Connecticut school superintendents also command enviable perks and bonuses, according to the report.
Along with its sister news organizations, including the Middletown Press and the Litchfield County Times, the Register found that the average pay for school superintendents in Connecticut is $166,000 and that they can significantly boost that pay with other negotiated perks and benefits, including compensation for unused sick time, meal allowances, travel pay and bonuses.
Some school superintendents get tens of thousands of dollars worth of perks each year, the newspapers found. Many also get generous benefit packages that include up to a month of vacation time and several weeks of sick time that can be accrued and then paid out if unused.
One of the lowest paid school superintendents in the state is Don Fiftal, who is part-time superintendent for the Sherman School District with a salary of $50,000.
Fiftal was superintendent for Darien Public Schools until 2010, when he retired and was succeeded by Falcone. The Sherman district consists of one kindergarten through 8th grade school in that small town near Danbury, with a school population of 458 students. The cost per student of Fiftal's salary is $109.17.
A map accompanying the database on the New Haven Register website shows that the highest superintendent salaries are concentrated in wealthy, expensive-to-live-in Fairfield County, with a much smaller concentration of high salaries around Hartford. Here's what some other school superintendents (not already mentioned in this article) make in districts not far from Darien:District Superintendent
StudentGreenwich William McKersie $235 K 8,867 $26.50 Norwalk
(interim)$229 K 10,745 $21.27 Danbury Salvatore Pascarella $205 K 10,041 $20.38 Trumbull Ralph Iassogna $199 K 6,923 $28.80 Bridgeport Paul Vallas (interim) $234 K 20,449 $11.44
Correction: In an earlier version of this article, Kathleen Ramunni was listed in the byline. Instead, Eileen McNamara should have been listed.