MEDINA, Ohio - MEDINA, Ohio - Superintendent Randy Stepp of Medina City Schools says he's giving back his $83,000 bonus.
Medina City School Board members were booed off the stage Wednesday night after going into an executive session to talk about teacher contract negotiations and personnel issues.
Many in the crowd wanted to ask questions about Stepp's contract that included the hefty signing bonus on top of his $139,000 salary, among other benefits.
Around 4 p.m., the school board confirmed Stepp was voluntarily giving the money back to the district. He also volunteered to forgo merit raises, which could total as much as $36,000 annually during the term of this contract.
In a news release, the board of education said under Stepp's seven years of leadership, the district has accomplished so much.
- Achieved an Excellent rating from the state each year
- 70 percent of students have gone on to a four-year college or university, another 11 percent to a two-year college
- ACT and SAT scores are consistently above the national average
- The number of National Merit finalists continues to increase
- Medina City Schools students excel in performing arts and athletics
- Cost per pupil has been reduced by $1,200, amounting to nearly $9,000,000 each year
"Our vision for the future is to prepare our students to be productive citizens who make positive contributions to their community and society," said Susan Vlcek in the release. "We need to work together as a community to assure we achieve our goal of academic excellence for our children."
But after Stepp's announcement was made, the Medina City Teachers Association issued their own resolution: a No Confidence No Trust Resolution. The union's spokesperson, John Leatherman, told NewsChannel5 they are still concerned of expenses not made public, including the superintendent's new five year contract and over $200,000 spent by the BOE to reimburse Superintendent Stepp in student loans.
A news release issued by the Medina City Teachers Association read:
1. According to documents MCTA received today [Thursday] we believe that since 2010, The BOE has paid Superintendent Stepp a sum of $244, 037 as repayment of student loans and for further education, all of which has been paid through the Medina County Educational Service.
2. At the January 7, 2013 work session, The Board of Education approved a new five year contract for the superintendent worth $1,200,000 including an $83,000 signing bonus. The financial information provided to MCTA by the Board during negotiations was that the school district was in dire financial straits.
3. The Board and Superintendent Stepp withheld information regarding the superintendent's new contract from MCTA's bargaining team. This may be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement between the MCTA and the Board Section 2.012 and Section 2.04.
On the hefty student loan bill, Superintendent Stepp told NewsChannel5 over the phone, the BOE encouraged him to get his doctorates to aid him in his position, something he said the BOE agreed to pay.
This all comes as the MCTA is expected to vote on teacher contracts. The City of Medina is also facing a 5.9 mill levy residents will vote on come this May. The last levy failed in November and school officials say the district is in need for this one to pass.
Ron Holzman commented on Superintendent Stepp's announcement Thursday telling NewsChannel5, "I don't think he had a choice."
Kristie Alexander, paying attention to what's going on in other districts, said, "My concern as a parent is what's happening in Strongsville will eventually work its way here and that's a very sad thing and something that I don't think any of us want."
A community forum will be held on March 8 at Medina High School's Performing Arts Center from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The forum will give community members the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with the Board of Education. The BOE said the Q&A will be posted to the district's website: www.medinacityschooldistrict.org.
The teachers' union had expressed its dismay with the decision to give Stepp a raise when there's been a 25 percent reduction in the teaching staff since several recent levy failures. The union is expected to vote on contracts next Wednesday.