The Verona Board of Education was supposed to vote this evening on a new contract for Superintendent Dr. Rui Dionisio. Instead, Dionisio opened the meeting by announcing that he was pulling the contract from consideration.
“I have made the decision to table the resolution this evening on the approval of my new superintendent contract,” Dionisio said in a statement. “I am no longer interested in seeking a new contract with the Verona Board of Education at this time and I have discussed my position and rationale with the Board. My current contract was negotiated and approved in 2017 and will remain in effect, unchanged.”
“I will continue to focus my efforts solely on my role as superintendent moving forward,” the statement continued. “However, I have addenda resolutions on this evening for approval to rescind my roles as director of facilities and acting board secretary. These roles are not part of my current contract where I have been fulfilling these responsibilities at no cost to the district. As a result, I have made the decision to establish the return of the director facilities position to oversee the daily leadership responsibilities and the coordination of the referendum.”
“The District posted the director of facilities position today and I will make a recommendation to the Board once I find a suitable candidate. At this time, the resolution on the superintendent contract is removed from the agenda resolutions with no further discussion.”
Dionisio cut the director of facilities position in May 2018 to close an emergency gap in the 2018-2019 school budget. That year, after the district budget had been slashed to stay within the 2% budget increase cap, Verona was found to need $160,000 more to meet scheduling requests at Verona High School and an out-of-district special education placement and to make up for a $20,000 loss in in-bound special ed tuition. BOE President Lisa Freschi said at the meeting that Dionisio’s actions had saved the Board more than $200,000.
Hiring a new facilities director could be costly for Verona. While there is no salary specified in the job posting, the state average for such a position is more than $140,000. The BOE did not indicate at tonight’s meeting where the funds to pay for the restored position would come from.
Dionisio became superintendent in August 2014. The BOE approved an extended contract in 2017, and that agreement runs through 2022.