Dr. Augustine Tornatore, after his appointment as superintendent of the Riverhead Central School District on April 27, 2021. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead School Superintendent Augustine Tornatore got a $32,500 boost in salary and benefits under an employment contract amendment approved by the Board of Education last week.

Tornatore’s base pay rose from $235,000 to $250,000, a 6.38% increase. In addition, he will now be paid a $15,000 vehicle allowance, a benefit he did not receive under his initial contract in Riverhead. 

The contract amendment also increases the district’s contribution to Tornatore’s tax-sheltered annuity from $7,500 to $10,000 a year. It also increases the number of paid vacation days he can cash in each year from seven to 10. The cash value of a vacation day for purposes of this provision is 1/240th of his annual salary, or $1,041.67 per day. His contract provides for a total of 24 paid vacation days annually.

The board unanimously approved the contract amendment at its July 5 reorganizational meeting. The amendment was not attached to the resolution approving it and was not available at the meeting. RiverheadLOCAL obtained a copy of the document through a Freedom of Information Law request.

This is Tornatore’s second year as Riverhead’s school superintendent. He joined the district last July, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of former Superintendent Aurelia Henriquez in June 2020. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Christine Tona served as interim superintendent from July 2020 through June 2021.

Before coming to Riverhead, Tornatore was the superintendent of Liberty Central School District in upstate Sullivan County, a post he held for three years. Prior to that, he was an assistant superintendent in the same district for less than a year and director of social studies K-12 for Newburgh City Schools from August 2016 to November 2017.

[See prior coverage: Meet Riverhead’s new superintendent, Dr. Augustine Tornatore]

For context, Henriquez, who was hired by Riverhead in 2017, had a base annual salary of $220,000 for her first year and received a 2% raise in October 2018 for her second year. She received no raise in her third year. Henriquez was paid an annual vehicle allowance of $5,000. She received no annuity payments. The Riverhead school district was her first job as a superintendent. She was an assistant superintendent for 10 years in the Brentwood school district prior to being hired by Riverhead.

Her predecessor Superintendent Nancy Carney had an annual salary of $250,198 in her final year as superintendent before she retired in 2017. Carney had served seven years as superintendent in Riverhead and five years before that as an assistant superintendent here.

With Denise Civiletti

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: alek@riverheadlocal.com