The all-Island school committee approved a three-year contract for the incoming assistant superintendent last week, following lengthy discussion of a significant pay increase for the position.

Oak Bluffs School principal Richard Smith is set to take on the role of assistant superintendent next year. Matthew D’Andrea, the current assistant, was hired in January as superintendent, taking over for Dr. James Weiss, who retires in June. Mr. D’Andrea and Mr. Smith were both finalists for the superintendent position.

Under the assistant superintendent contract, Mr. Smith will have a starting salary of $140,000, well above the $118,000 budgeted for the position in the recently-approved fiscal year 2016 budget. Mr. D’Andrea said the $22,000 difference could be made up through the health care and salary-in-increments line items in the budget.

Though the increase in pay was a jump, Mr. D’Andrea said he felt that it was commensurate with Mr. Smith’s previous experience and his work history on the Island. Next year, Mr. Smith is scheduled to make $125,000 as principal of the Oak Bluffs School.

“I didn’t think it would make sense that he would move into a position that had more responsibility but made less money,” Mr. D’Andrea told committee members last Wednesday. “He will be the number two in the district, and I believe he should be paid like a number two.” Mr. D’Andrea’s superintendent contract was approved last month with a starting pay of $165,000.

The increase raised concerns for some committee members, with Skipper Manter of West Tisbury noting that the 2016 budget had already been seen by all of the towns.

“Everybody saw that the position was [$118,000],” he said. “I think this is a rather drastic jump . . . after people have been through the process and seen it.

“I get disappointed when an adequate salary or a fair salary becomes excessive,” he added.

Robert Lionette of Chilmark asked if there was a way to see data for what people in other districts earned. Three years ago, several administrative positions, including the assistant superintendent position, were increased incrementally to bring them in line with other areas in the state.

“If 140 is the going rate for a new assistant superintendent for a district of this size and breadth, then yeah, absolutely, I will support it,” Mr. Lionette said. “But I want to be convinced of that.” Mr. D’Andrea said according to the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, average statewide salary for assistant superintendent of curriculum instruction was a little more than $120,000, and for assistant superintendent was $130,000. Mr. Smith’s position is assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Colleen McAndrews of Tisbury pointed out that the hiring situation is unique.

“I think there’s some exception here in that this is Richie Smith we’re talking about,” she said. “He was so strong for superintendent . . . he has so much experience. If we were talking about a new person, I think it would be a different conversation we’d be having.”

Michael Marcus of West Tisbury said that while he was not thrilled about spending so much money, he felt the district would “get a big bang for our buck out of Richie.”

“I think he will bring phenomenal strength to the superintendent’s office,” he said.

The contract was approved 10-3, with Mr. Manter, Mr. Lionette and Kate DeVane voting no. One change was made to existing language, requiring that the assistant superintendent live on the Vineyard.