Riverhead School District

Riverhead transportation director on medical leave, plans to retire

Amala Cain

The Riverhead School District’s transportation director is currently out on medical leave and plans to retire at the end of this school year, superintendent Nancy Carney confirmed in an email Tuesday.

Amala Cain, who has been in charge of the district’s transportation department since 2010, has also accepted the district’s retirement incentive offer and the school board will be asked to “approve an amendment to her contract,” Ms. Carney said.

That amendment would “pay certain post-retirement benefits” to Ms. Cain, 62, through a retirement savings plan, the superintendent said.

transportation supervisorWhile Ms. Carney said that arrangement would “save the district and Ms. Cain in taxes,” she didn’t immediately respond to a request to specify a more precise figure for the savings.

Last month, the district announced its expecting to save at least $1.5 million in the 2016-17 budget because 15 teachers have agreed to take new retirement incentives. That number has since doubled to 30 teachers, Ms. Carney said.

As the district searches for a new transportation director, assistant supervisor Colette Furcht and head bus driver Leslie Moore will run the transportation department, Ms. Carney said.

“I have great confidence in them,” she added.

Ms. Cain’s medical leave, which was first reported by RiverheadLocal, was prompted by “her doctor’s orders,” the superintendent said, confirming it “is not related to an on-the-job injury.” Ms. Carney did not specify how long Ms. Cain has been on medical leave.

Her retirement follows a few controversial incidents recently involved within the transportation department.

A fired bus driver returned to work in June after she filed a discrimination complaint against the district. In September, a minibus driver left a 4-year-old boy unattended in a bus parked in the district’s lot. A month later, a bus driver and monitor were rescued from a burning bus.

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Top photo: Amala Cain addressing the school board during a June meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)