Cash severance pay tops $300,000

Embattled superintendent walks away with $316,000 in cash and three years of health insurance.

Buffalo schools, and the taxpayers who fund the district, are paying Kriner Cash more than $300,000 to go away.

Cash resigned under pressure as superintendent Wednesday night. He’s been criticized of late for his frequent absences from the district, his handling of numerous issues related to the pandemic and a spike in violence in city schools, including a shooting and stabbing at McKinley High School on Feb. 9.

Those issues led to increased tensions with a growing number of School Board members and a dare he issued to the board on Feb. 16 to fire him if they were unhappy with his job performance.

“The day that you want me gone it’s an easy decision. Board gets in a room, and they get the votes, and then we work something out,” he said. 

The board apparently took him up on his offer.

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The board accepted his resignation at a special meeting last night, but refused to release his severance package. Investigative Post filed a request under the state Freedom of Information Law and the district provided a 10-page severance agreement early this evening.

Under the term of the deal, Cash will receive:

  • A cash payment of $299,995, close to his annual salary of $311,137. 
  • Payment of $11,959, minus taxes, for unused vacation time.
  • A $5,000 consulting fee to assist his successor.
  • Three years of health insurance. The agreement doesn’t specify the value of the coverage, but Investigative Post reported in 2018 that health insurance costs averaged $15,318 per retiree for the fiscal year that ended the previous June.The district could not provide a breakout between those receiving single and family coverage.

In addition, Cash agreed not to bring any legal action against the district and he and the school officials, including the board, agreed to refrain from making any disparaging remarks about each other.

In total, the agreement will cost the district $316,954, plus health insurance. 

The state provides the district with 83 percent percent of its operating funds, the city 7 percent. That’s who ultimately will foot the bill.

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Cash arrived in Buffalo in 2015 after accepting a buyout from his position as superintendent of school in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2013.

He’s received good grades from the Buffalo School Board in annual performance reviews and his contract was extended through 2023.

​​Tonja Williams, who served as associate superintendent of student support services under Cash, will act as interim superintendent.