NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – In May 2015, the New Britain, Connecticut school board voted against renewing Superintendent Kelt Cooper’s contract.

That came three years after the board recruited Cooper to “salvage its foundering schools,” according to a report from

The news report noted that Cooper still had about 14 months left on his contract, and wrote that “It’s not clear how he or the board plan to operate in that time.”

It became clear the following January, when the school district cut Cooper loose for the rest of his contract – but agreed to keep paying him through May, at a cost of $69,956.

The school board approved the giveaway, despite recently indicating that it needed $5 million in extra revenue from the state to maintain current programs, and expected to make “steep budget cuts,” according to

All-in-all, the superintendent position turned out to be even more expensive than usual for New Britain schools in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Cooper was paid a base salary of $170,647, according to information provided by the district. He also received $16,932 in insurance benefits and $17,692 in tax-sheltered savings account contributions.

That brought his total compensation – for about seven months of service – to at least $205,271.

The New Britain district hired a new superintendent in February 2016, and she was paid for the rest of the fiscal year, even as Cooper was still drawing a salary.

Superintendent Nancy Sarra was paid $43,970 in straight salary and received $6,357 worth of health insurance and $576 toward a tax-sheltered savings account. Her total compensation was $50,903.

Between the two superintendents, the New Britain district spent at least $256,174.

That was a big investment for a “foundering district” that was apparently desperate for cash to maintain programs for students.

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