By Jordan Cohen
As of Aug. 1, Frank Danso’s position as superintendent of schools need no longer be prefaced by the word “interim.”
The board of education approved a two-year contract for Danso, who was hired as interim superintendent last October after the surprise resignation of Mark Robinson.
Danso, who retired as superintendent of Southington Schools only a few months before taking the interim Niles position, will earn an annual salary of $97,500. His contract runs through July 31, 2015.
“Everything about him was top-notch and professional, and we love the direction he has us headed in,” said Tony Perrone, board president. Perrone said the board did not conduct a search for other candidates when it voted unanimously in late spring to approve Danso’s contract.
“We like the way he is handing business,” the board president said Thursday. “Hiring him is a no-brainer, and we know he wants to be here.”
By contrast, Robinson resigned after only 14 months on the job.
Danso, 61, will earn significantly less than Robinson, whose incentive clauses along with his starting salary earned him more than $120,000 — a salary that led to protests from school employees and the public during subsequent board meetings. Danso said his contract contains no incentive clauses.
The package provides a $45,000 life-insurance policy and requires him to pay 10 percent of his health-care premiums. Danso said, however, he will not accumulate unused vacation time and will receive no payment for any unused vacation days.
“It’s no secret we have financial problems, and if we can save money, I’m fine with that,” Danso said. “This community has been very good to me and I’m very comfortable here.”
One of the superintendent’s major challenges is the district’s finances. Niles faces a projected deficit of $2.9 million by 2017 and has been under state fiscal watch since 2003. Adding to the dire financial picture, voters in May overwhelmingly rejected two levies that would have helped eliminate the deficit.
Danso said the district cannot plan financially until the state provides more specifics about school funding.
“Nothing has come to us with a specific financial formula, and without it, we can’t determine what our next steps will be,” Danso said as he declined to speculate about again putting a levy before voters.
Nonetheless, the superintendent said he is pleased to have the opportunity. “I feel I’ve found a very good match with the Niles community,” Danso said.