Former Harford School Superintendent Tomback Retires, Collects $12,000/Month Pension; Takes Job at Private Consulting Firm

Robert M. Tomback not only ended his first and only term as superintendent of Harford County Public Schools in June, he also retired after nearly 37 years in the Maryland public school system.

Citing a decision to “pursue other opportunities”, Tomback, 63, had announced in February that he would not seek a second 4-year term as superintendent. In the months that followed, Tomback didn’t discuss his plans publicly, even as he gave a heartfelt farewell at his last school board meeting on June 24th.

Confirmation of Tomback’s retirement didn’t come until Harford County Public Schools published a routine report in late July, listing the names of personnel who left the system at the end of the school year:

Upon retirement, Tomback’s pension from the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System is $11,948.79 per month, or $143,385.48 per year, before taxes and other deductions, according to Michael Golden, the state agency’s director of external affairs. As with other Maryland public school retirees, Tomback’s pension is based on his annual salary for the three years prior to retirement, which was approximately $190,000 per year. Before he came to Harford County, Tomback was an area assistant superintendent and a principal in Baltimore County Public Schools, where he served for most of his career.

Other retirement benefits specifically provided for Tomback by the Harford County Board of Education can be found here.

Upon his departure from HCPS, Tomback returned the vehicle, phone, computer and other items that were part of his contract, according to Teri Kranefeld, HCPS manager of communications. “The vehicle will either replace an older model in the fleet, which will in turn be sold at public auction; or, the vehicle itself will be sold at public auction. Any funds collected by the sale will be deposited in the general fund for the school system,” Kranefeld said.

As for Tomback, he may be retired from Maryland public schools, but he remains in the working world:

Atlantic Research Partners

May 13
Atlantic Research Partners is pleased to announce that Dr. Robert Tomback has joined our team as a Senior Advisor and Faculty Member. Dr. Tomback brings to his work with Atlantic extensive experience as a middle and high school classroom teacher, as a middle school assistant principal, as a middle and high school principal, as an area assistant superintendent, and as a district superintendent.

Dr. Robert Tomback:
Senior Advisor and Faculty Member Senior Advisor and Faculty Member

Dr. Tomback brings to his work with Atlantic Research Partners extensive experience as a middle and high school classroom teacher, as a middle school assistant principal, as a middle and high school principal, as an area assistant superintendent, and as a district superintendent. He began his career in the New York City Public Schools—teaching in the high school from which he graduated—before transitioning to his teaching and administrative roles in the Baltimore County, Maryland Public Schools and ultimately to his leadership as superintendent of the Harford County, Maryland Public Schools.

Having earned a reputation as an innovative leader and consensus builder, Dr. Tomback is driven by an unwavering focus on the continuous improvement of achievement for all students. As a collaborative leader, Dr. Tomback focused his school district’s priorities squarely on building the quality of classroom instruction, the quality of school-based and district-wide instructional leadership, as well as channeling the work of central office, school-based, and operations personnel to support continuous growth of student achievement. His school district received national recognition for significant growth in Advanced Placement program student participation and success, while promulgating initiatives to build efficacy and efficiency system-wide.

Dr. Tomback has been recognized as an Outstanding Professional by the University of Maryland, College of Education and as an Outstanding School System Superintendent by the Maryland State Council on Gifted and Talented Education. Dr. Tomback has served on numerous county and state commissions and advisory boards. In addition, he has co-authored learning programs in law-related education and has presented at annual meetings of the American Educational Research Association and the Society for Research in Child Development.

Dr. Tomback received his B.A. from The City College of New York, his M.A. from The City University of New York, and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park.


  1. Kate says

    Well no wonder he was so happy when he left. He gets $12,000 month and didn’t even have to do a whole lot to earn it. While we are arguing about teacher salaries and making kids pay for clubs, sports, etc. school system has money to pay this guy. Unbelievable.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 54 Thumb down 3
    • ptb says

      Thank you again mark wolkow and robin rich and pat hess and alison krchnavy for your utter cluelessness in hiring and overpaying this loser and the clowns that he brought with him. The wolkow/Rich era wasted 10 years all for the glorification of mark’s weak and fragile ego. Let’s hope that this is the last vestige of their damage.

      with him.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 30 Thumb down 1
    • Lucy says

      I don’t know much at all about Tomback, but from what I’ve read and “heard”, he will not be missed much, if at all. However, I think most folks are looking at a money figure and not looking past it. He did work under the Maryland State Pension and Retirement Plan for 37 years. His pension may be based on his salary for the last 3 years, but it’s not like they plucked him off the street and paid him $190K per year.

      I have 17 years in with my employer. (And before my kids get out of school, I’ll probably have 17 more.) I have the time and experience, and have worked hard, for my salary. Mind you, it’s no where near $190K, but I’ve earned it. If, before I retire, I can work my way up the ladder and make $190K salary, then I’ll take my $12K a month pension, thank you very much.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2
      • Come on Man... says

        Thanks for making some sense.

        The man worked for Maryland Schools for 40 years. Dedicated his life and worked his way to the top.

        Like him or not – this is his payoff. The fact is if more teachers were interested in moving up the ladder there would be more qualified superintendent candidates which would drive salaries down.

        Rather, most teachers would rather collect their yearly raise (or lack-thereof – you get my point) and teach.

        That’s fine too – to each his own. Besides, we need great teachers.

        Just don’t hate the few that want more and spend 40 years of their time achieving it.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8
        • really? says

          You really have no clue how many teachers are getting into – or already in administration. The most in years. No your facts before you speak.

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          • i shovel horse dookie at the end of parades says

            If your information is correct, more teachers are applying for higher paid administration jobs within the school system?

            “For the children” is the biggest joke until each and every employee looks at their pay stubs.

            I guess its easier to apply within, than to move an entire family, amiriteaboutthat?

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    • Jaguar Judy says

      Kate, The best is yet to come. He is now a paid consultant who will be marketing his services to school systems everywhere, including HCPS. Caveat emptor.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4
  2. jack says

    Well, 12k a year sounds reasonable enough — wait a second…

    It’s good to know that the BOE has the courage to screw over teachers so that politically-connected administrators can be well-taken care of.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 32 Thumb down 5
    • FightinBluHen51 says

      Don’t worry…the state & local pension bubble popping has started… (Read Detroit, Harrisburg, select cities in California).

      When there isn’t any funny money left in the funny money pot, these funny money bureaucrats won’t have any pot to…well, you get the idea.

      On a long enough time line…

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  3. pathetic says

    Unreal. This is a real shame when teachers who have put in more years in HC than Tomback make 42k a year and this bum is collecting that. What is wrong with the system? A total sham and crime. Embarrassing to all involved that this is the case. What a broken system.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 28 Thumb down 5
      • ALEX R says

        Good riddance, yes, but we are paying very high prices to have it hauled away.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1
    • Kharn says

      Someone might work for 30 years at McDonalds and never make it past the fryer, should they be given the same retirement pay as the district manager who managed stores with 6k employees and a $400mil gross revenue while retiring after 30 years?

      While I didn’t like several of Mr Tomback’s decisions or defined-benefit retirement plans, he dedicated his life to education and his pension benefits reflect the current state-mandated system and his pay as an executive decision maker. The pension system is also state-wide, its not HCPS paying his pension directly.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 14
      • pathetic says

        Do you think he deserves 12k a month for what he did in HC?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6
        • ALEX R says

          The Maryland school system pension plan thinks that is what he is worth. So your opinion and my opinion don’t factor in to it. Pathetic, the basic problem here is that he was a bad choice for Harford County. And while he was here he was allowed to do things that were damaging to our school system. These are just symptoms. The problem is with the BOE who chose him and who then supported him and his actions while he was here. If the BOE problem isn’t solved we will be having this conversation again and again.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2
      • pathetic says

        Your comparison also exposes your ignorance by comparing someone who makes fries to teachers who work with your kids. But by reading your past comments, you need attention you must not get at home since 99% of your comments are just to antagonize and who knows what you really think. You get off on reading the replys….so who knows.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 14
      • You're Paying For It says

        Many teachers have dedicated their lives to education or do they not count in your reckoning of the world?
        The man received every contracted raise unlike the rank and file teachers, many of whom are exceptional.
        Do they deserve lower defined pesion benefits due to unrealized steps?
        In your world of top man takes all everyone is a peasant or a king regardless of performance.

        You seem fine with this but at least know that you are paying for this in state taxes.

        Still miffed about the ex-teacher paramour?

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        • Kharn says

          No one “deserves” missed contractual steps, but their absence is reality due to HCPS’s financial choices and HC’s tax revenue.

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    • Come on Man... says

      Uh – you are inferring there are teachers with 40 years experience making $42k per year?


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      • pathetic says

        “This is a real shame when teachers who have put in more years in HC than Tomback make 42k a year”…

        OK…let me break it down for the slow dagger readers (like Come on Man…). HC stands for Harford County. If you read my comment again it says teachers (here’s the important part) who have put in more years IN HC than Tomback. How many years did Tomback put in HC? OK….get the point? Now go back to watching ESPN and exposing your intelligence level on this MB….or lack there of.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
      • ok says

        under the current system of frozen steps and colas they very well could end up that way

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  4. Bill says

    I understand County Executive Craig also plans to take a large lump sum payment for unused leave similar to Tomback’s payment in excess of $30,000. How do they claim they never take leave when they rarely work a full week. In Craig’s case he is campaigning across the State on Harford’s time along with his chief of staff.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 21 Thumb down 8
  5. mystic pizza says

    per pension rules…last 3 yrs average salary and 37 yrs of employment. 12K seems like a lot, however HCPS is not paying it as he was only in charge here for 3 yrs. As far as Craig, the lump sum payment for unused leave is pretty standard and I am quite sure he puts in more than 40 hrs per week.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 8
  6. Grand Pooobaaah says

    I think we can all say that this is just BS.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4
  7. No Way... says

    This is unconscionable. I cannot believe someone working for public schools would earn $144,000 a year…IN A PENSION!!! What the hell is wrong with this world. Does the president of the united states even get this much when they leave office?

    What the hell did he do to deserve this?

    Well-loved. Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4
    • ptb says

      He earned it the same way Obama did. Do nothing, speak in platitudes, avoid responsibility and accountability and eventually some fools (in tomback’s case, clueless board members; in obama’s case, half the electorate) will think that you have some spine, credibility, humility, competence or integrity. 0 for 5 with both guys.
      Meanwhile good teachers are left to fend for themselves while the incompetent ones assume leadership positions in the the nation’s unions and then make it harder to reward good teachers and to punish bad ones. God bless the good teachers.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 15 Thumb down 9
    • FightinBluHen51 says

      LOL…President’s are paid their 400k a year. Their “pension” is equivalent to a cabinet level executive’s annual pay (roughly 200k currently) but they get SS protection, mail & office expense reimbursements as well as office staff compensation.

      After 37 years of service, and the lack of equivalent private sector service, a “chief executive” could probably make 150-500k for a mid-cap or small level company that makes 10-20 million a year.

      So considering the ~20 million dollar budget of HCPS, this is not a highly unreasonable salary. That said…it should have been better used to attract better talent that would have been more vested in the position rather than just using it as a golden parachute (lest, that’s how this straight shooter sees it).

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
    • paul schatz says

      The guy earned it and contributed to his pension for 40 years.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8
      • ralph says

        You WOULD think he earned it Paul (based on the low standards that you hold yourself to).

        Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
        • spy says

          This is a state pension; not a Harford County pension. Whether you like him or not, he earned his retirement.

          Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  8. Hedley Lamarr says

    Not a problem, O’Malley will make up another tax to cover the cost.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4
  9. Hedley Lamarr says

    Someone should call the cops about this crap, this is robbery.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2
  10. Hedley Lamarr says

    Now it should be understood why kids have to pay to play sports, it’s only fair. The Harford County School Board should be fired for this BS. Once again, the Good Old Boy network is kicking in. Who are these Bozo’s on the school board and who are they to write this contract and give away the store without any oversight, do they write contracts for themselves, hate to see what they get.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
    • Jaguar Judy says

      Hedley, Listen. The BOE reads this site. They are individually and as a group sitting there thinking “the public just doesn’t understand education and how it works and the public doesn’t understand HCPS and the requirements of overseeing a large public school system”. And so they tend to just shrug off any and all public criticism. SO, knowing that they are reading this, let me send them a message:

      The public does understand. The public funds the school system that you, as a board, are charged with overseeing. You do not understand the public and their wishes and demands. The public’s wishes and demands take precedence over yours. If you can’t or won’t capitulate to the wishes of the public then you must leave your position and make way for someone who will. If you won’t do that then we will remove you.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 19 Thumb down 4
    • Lee says

      The only current member of the BOE that had any part in writing Tomback’s contract is Krchnavy.

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
      • Jaguar Judy says

        But they all have gone along with him every step of the way rather than fixing the mistake pronto.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4
        • Lee says

          How have they all gone along. Do you pay attention to the BOE meetings? There was a lot of disagreement with some of his proposals but the majority rules in bodies like the BOE. So what could the BOE have done about it? Tomback had a four year contract that the BOE could not get out of unless he did something criminal or they bought out his contract at great expense.

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  11. curious one says

    According to this article, the retirement $$ Tomback receives is administered by the MD State Retirement and Pension system- so that money does not come directly out of the HCPS till. That said, a retired MD teacher in that same system gets about 33% of their final salary. If I am doing the math correctly, Tomback is getting 75% of his final salary. Why the discrepancy?

    Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0
  12. i shovel horse dookie at the end of parades says

    28 comments and this article has been up for a day now, ya’ll are slacking.

    I was expecting to see a bunch of negative comments about Harford County, and “contact me” as a reply from that one dude, or dudes. Never know how many people are cloning a name here.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
    • Jaguar Judy says

      Bel Air Guy,

      That would be $144K not $244K. I get your point but don’t embarrass yourself> Where did you graduate from? HCPS?

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6
  13. HYDESMANN says

    Under worked and way, way, way overpaid. That goes for his job and his pension. And the BOE is constantly whining for more money. Enough.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
  14. Hedley Lamarr says

    J. Judy, In all honesty I could care less of the “BOE” reading this sight, I understand your point, that being said, these Bozo’s have lost touch with reality and also lost public trust. I don’t care if these are appointed positions, elected positions or their great grandfather left them these positions in a will, how do you cry poor mouth and then have something like this occur? They need to go. Here is how they explain it, in order to get quality you have to pay what other states are paying, I say BS. This should be on the local news.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2
    • Jaguar Judy says

      You said “I understand your point, that being said, these Bozo’s have lost touch with reality and also lost public trust.” That was my point. But I had a further point which you also made, I think.

      THEY DON’T CARE!! Why? Because they are a bunch of arrogant jerks who think they know better than anyone else. Most of them have to go. And it isn’t the pay so much as they paid a competitive package of salary and benefits and got a dufus in return. And then compounded their mistake by not doing something about it.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
      • really?? says

        I nominate Jaguar Judy to be superintendent and to run the school board. She has all the answers.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
        • Jaguar Judy says

          Well, I have some of the answers and I can tell you what one of the answers IS NOT. It isn’t a BOE that flips the bird at the public because of their arrogance.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4
  15. Hedley Lamarr says

    Kharn, Go hug a tree, nobody cares about your liberal position, move to Howard County you db.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8
  16. paul schatz says

    While ignoring the rants about bozos and reality checks, I must point out that regardless of Tomback’s short -thank goodness-tenure as superduper, he did earn his pension. It is safe to assume that, unlike yours truly, he chose to stay in the original retirement system and paid in 7% of his gross annual salary to match what the state paid. While his pension is approximately six times mine, I do not begrudge his take snce he stuck with public ed for 40 or so years. I chose, probably unwisely, to pull out of the retirement system and enter the pension system when reform was put in place in the 1980s. Good riddance to Tomback, but also shame on the Dagger for not telling the whole story. And Hedley Lamarr no one cares about your your radical right wing positions either.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7
    • You're Paying For It says

      So what if it does not come directly from HCPS, you’re still paying for this attrocity with your state taxes.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
      • ralph says

        excellent point “You’re paying for it”. pretty obvious to people who understand the basics, but not to someone like paul s. methinks that he and his cronies do not like the revealing light that the dagger shines on them.

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  17. The Quiet Man says

    A question for all of you:
    What is current Superintendant’s salary, how long has she been in the system, and what will her retirement salary be.

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    • paul schatz says

      I am pretty certain that the Aegis and the Sun mentioned the acting supers salary. Her retirement, while based on the top three earning years, will largely be determined by which retirement plan she is enrolled in. Until the late 1980s, the MD teacher retirement system had a generous pay out, while members paid 5% of salary as their share. When pension reform was instituted, those who decided to stay in the old system paid in 5 or 7% of gross salary. Those who paid 5% at retirement had a cap on colas. Those who paid 7 continued uncapped colas. There were options offering a cash payout and a switch to the reformed pensions system which has lower benefits and caps on colas. At that time, those who switched paid nothing into it….. That has changed.

      So…. Ms. Canavan, depending on what plan she chose and how much she contributed can collect upon retirement anywhere from around 30% to about 70% of the average of her three highest years salaries.

      In any case, all new hires after the 1980s reform are in the less generous plans. There was a slight improvement in these plans about 5 years ago.

      I would highly doubt – but it is possible that the local BOE offered her some way of sweetening the deal — I would think that is a matter of public record.

      I took some cash in the 1980s to buy a house and switched to the new pension. After 31 years of service and 9 years of retirement my gross is about 26K per year. Not complaining because I made my choice. However, those who are whining about defined benefit plans are out of line. The fact that corporate greed has made so many people devolve into defined contribution plans is a matter of national shame – and it has made investment firms rich while forcing workers to go it alone in the treacherous field of investing.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2
      • paul schatz says

        A final thought – if this website is supposed to be a source of news they are doing a terrible job. NO deep investigative reporting and a rehash of press releases. Ugh.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8
        • paul is a tard says

          I dont see anywhere on this site where it advertises itself as a news site. Based on what you would consider a news outlet it makes the grade. I dont recall anyone forcing you to read this. You are free to f*** off

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5
      • The Money Tree says

        Just a thought. You sound as if 26K annually gauranteed until you die and after 31 years in teaching is a pittance. Private sector workers would need to somehow save at least 500K over their working lives to come close to that. One of the reasons that people lose empathy for teachers is they seem so out of touch with reality.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5
        • Paul Schatz says

          I was in no way complaining. I appreciate the benefit I earned and if honestly earned I do not begrudge the ex superintendent’s pension. I find it humorous that you and others read into these posts whatever meaning floats your boat.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Direct quote from you – “After 31 years of service and 9 years of retirement my gross is about 26K per year. Not complaining because I made my choice.” The reason I stated you think your 26K a year is a pittance is that you framed it as such yourself. First you whine about taking money out to buy a house and certaily inferr that amount is all you’re left with, otherwise why “not complaining because I made my choice” wouldn’t have been added to the comment. Let’s not pretend you didn’t write that and hit “send”.

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          • Common Sense says

            @Paul Schatz

            It’s unfortunate that so many people like you are financially and economically deficient.

            You get a benefit of $26K a year for what I hope for you is a long time, however you don’t understand where the payment to you comes from.

            Further you don’t understand how much money someone without a pension would have to save in a non-guaranteed at-risk retirement account to equal your payment for life.

            So yes, you and many other teachers have a sense of entitlement that may be unequaled?

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        • spy says

          You are out of touch with reality; salaries aside, we should be worried about how HCPS is going to make up the money needed to run the school system this year. Pau Shcatz is a fine person and educator, yet you attack him on a personal level. It is sad that you stoop so low. Stick to the topic.

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  18. yuck says

    Good Job Ryan Burbey. Next time you go on a bitch spree about more money for schools I invite you to take a look at this clowns pension. Oh wait, he is a union member. Sooooo I guess its ok.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 11
  19. Hedley Lamarr says

    Paul Shitzs, You bend over grab you ankles than kharn stick it up your butt.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6
    • Paul Schatz says

      Btw no one has called me that since high-school. And you misspelled shits. Mel Brooks ought to sue you for defaming a Blazing Saddles character.

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
    • spy says

      Why would anyone listen to you? Attacking someone personally is not helping the debate. Clean-up your act or stay off the Dagger.

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  20. Amazed. says

    How long did they search to find a picture of this clown wearing an expression that makes me want to kick him in the nadgers?

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