December 2, 2021

Cortland hires new school superintendent

Robert Edwards, a former long-time social studies teacher at Cortland Junior-Senior High School who had gone on to a career in administration at other Central New York school districts, was hired Thursday as the next superintendent of Cortland city schools.

Edwards has worked as executive director of instruction and personnel for the Phoenix School District since 2016. His prior administrative experience includes four years as building administrator for the Baldwinsville Central School District.

“The board is excited to welcome back one of our own,” a news release issued by the city Board of Education read.

During a 10-minute meeting conducted remotely online starting about 3 p.m., the board voted 7-0 to hire Edward, then approved his three-year contract, 6-1, with Board member Yu casting the only vote in opposition.

Yu said board members had received copies of the agreement only that morning and he was concerned there was little time to review the document and that the retirement package was excessive. He noted the district has been deemed under fiscal stress by the state Comptroller’s Office and he did not think it was appropriate to guarantee retirement benefits to Edwards in only three years.

“In these circumstances, I don’t think we can be as generous as we may like,” Yu said.

“I disagree that this was rushed,” board member Gene Waldbaur said. “We were all involved.”

Hoose’s last day will be June 29 and Edwards will begin work July 1. Hoose said the transition will begin soon.

“He and I have already been in contact,” Hoose said after the vote..”He is going to come down next week or the week after.”