Region 16 school board offers to extend superintendent’s contract 

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin speaks during a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Region 16 school district last August at Long River Middle School in Prospect. Yamin is in the final year of his contract with the region. –FILE PHOTO

PROSPECT — The Region 16 Board of Education has approved a 3% raise and offered a contract extension for Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin, but it’s unclear whether he will remain in the district beyond the 2020-21 school year.

The raise and offer came after an executive session to discuss Yamin’s evaluation during the board’s June 17 virtual meeting. Yamin is in the final year of a three-year contract, which runs through June 30, 2021.

In an interview last week, Yamin said he had not accepted the new contract offer. He said he will work under the remaining year of his contract and continue to have discussions with the board about possibly agreeing to a new contract.

Yamin said he’s flattered by the support of the board and that board members want him to stay three more years.

“It’s an honor for me that they want me back,” he said.

The 3% raise increases Yamin’s salary to about $195,000.

Yamin said he didn’t ask for a raise because he feels it’s going to be a challenging year financially as the district continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. He added there were no statewide tests this year due to school closings and he believes his performance should be tied with student achievement.

Board Chairman Priscilla Cretella couldn’t be reached for comment, and Vice Chairman Robert Hiscox was out of town for the meeting.

In a subsequent interview, Nazih Noujaim, the board’s treasurer, said the 3% raise is in line with contractual increases that administrators and teachers received. He said the raise is warranted based on the state of the region, adding there are many other superintendent opportunities in the state that pay well over $200,000, especially in Fairfield County. He said the board knows that Yamin has received other offers.

Noujaim said the region is in a strong position, including with the budget.

Over five years, spending in the region has increased $199,054, or about 0.5%, to roughly $40.7 million. Though the overall spending level has stayed relatively the same, the impact on taxpayers in Beacon Falls and Prospect — the two towns that make up the region — has varied largely due to an increase in the percentage of students from Prospect. This has shifted more of the burden on the town.

Noujaim said Yamin has also done a great job maintaining facilities in the district, and his knowledge of construction and negotiations has helped save the region money.

Along with the raise, the board will also give Yamin a $200 monthly reimbursement for his cellphone. He didn’t receive the reimbursement in the past. The board will also pay Yamin $9,000 — the same as last fiscal year — to put toward an annuity plan.

The school board hired Yamin as superintendent in 2014. He spent the bulk of his educational career in the Waterbury public school system before coming to the region. He was the director of special services and pupil personnel in Waterbury, and also spent five years as principal of Kennedy High School in Waterbury.

Before his hire, the district went through a period of a few years with several superintendents and interim superintendents in place. Noujaim said Yamin has brought stability to the region, and everyone works well together.

“We value him being in the district,” Noujaim said.