April 17, 2014

Intermittent clouds

E-mail response from Medina school board on Randy Stepp’s contract

The following is an e-mail response being circulated by the Medina school board regarding the controversy over Superintendent Randy Stepp’s new contract:

Thank you for the email. I decided a long time ago that whatever I did on the BOE it would be based on what would be best for the students in this community. I was involved in negotiating Dr Stepp’s last contract, as well as this one, and did so based on my experience as a leader in a large corporation. In Dr. Stepp’s current contract his base salary went from $134k to $139k, a 3.6% raise, however the previous 4 years he, along with the rest of our administrators, received no base salary raises at all. Most of the remaining clauses, such as his annuity, car allowances, vacation, etc, are absolutely typical in a superintendent’s contract and were increased due to his increased experience and/or inflation. The completion bonus is a longevity incentive to ensure we retain his leadership and is about 12% of his base pay. If Dr. Stepp leaves before his contract is complete all of this must be repaid to MCS. This offsets the cost of MCS having to hire an interim superintendent while we search for a permanent replacement as well as any recruitment and relocation costs.
In addition, the biggest challenge facing the education industry is the culture of mediocrity, there is no incentive to perform better nor is there a reward for doing so. Dr. Stepp’s contract is our attempt to battle that culture. He also has specific merit goals related strictly to student achievement and fiscal responsibility that will serve this community well. If Dr. Stepp reaches those goals the return on his merit pool will be ten-fold in reduced costs.
Having just spent two years looking for a highly-qualified Treasurer to replace Mr Gordon, I can tell you the population of highly-qualified individuals willing to work for school districts is pretty thin. Many of the candidates we interviewed from Hudson, Massillon, etc were already making more than our superintendent. We were lucky to find Mr. Hudson at the salary he received. The same goes for Dr. Stepp, there are 688 school districts in Ohio and I assure you there are not 688+ highly-qualified superintendents. With the changes in STRS this year there are many superintendent retirements occurring and competition is stiff for the available remaining personnel. Dr. Stepp, with his 7 years of experience, PhD and MBA was on the radar of many school districts. Many of these school districts are able and willing to compensate him much better than Medina ever could. So to retain his leadership at this critical time, we provided Dr. Stepp what we believed was a fair and equitable offer, which he accepted because of his commitment to this district.
What are the financial ramifications of his new contract to MCS? The cost of the MCS superintendent is 0.2% of our total budget, about $20 per student, the second lowest in Medina County only to Brunswick. Overall, MCS administrative costs are 30% below the state average and at the bottom end of Medina County’s, as shown below.

District-Administration Cost per Student

Black River-891

The comparative superintendent cost per student is:

District-Superintendent Cost per Student

Black River-67.09
Medina County Avg-27.97

If Dr. Stepp were to work for free, the impact would be about another 1/3 of a textbook per student per year, or 20% of a substitute teacher for one school day. If Dr. Stepp’s leadership was gone the impact would be much greater.
Of the 5 areas, the Ohio Department of Education measures, the only area which Medina City Schools is above the average cost is Instructional, which is the element associated with teachers. The comparative cost per student for instructional in Medina County is below:

District-Instructional Cost per Student

Black River-5,067

With respect to the BOE asking for concessions from the teachers, our tentative agreement covers two years with a zero increase on the base, allows longevity and degree steps, increases the requirement to teach 6 periods from 5 periods at the high school and moves the employee contribution for healthcare from 17.5% to 20% at the end of the second year of the contract.
These are changes in work conditions Dr. Stepp has also already voluntarily accepted; he is in the 4th year of a wage freeze, has paid 20% of his healthcare beginning 4 years ago and operates without an assistant superintendent, increasing his workload.
I defend both of these contracts and both parties. It takes highly-qualified employees to run and manage a successful school system and BOE policy reflects that reality. Our teachers, staff and administrators are valued and paid according to their education experience and contribution to the organizational goals.
So in summary, the Medina City Schools BOE spends $20 per student per year on the Superintendent who leads the entire District and $5,984 per student per year on the classroom teacher. As a parent, taxpayer, businessman and BOE member, I believe that is an equitable and appropriate distribution of resources.

Best to you and yours,
Bill Grenfell

  • http://www.facebook.com/traci.rydbommonroe Traci Rydbom Monroe

    Jibber Jabber, what a crock!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1540908930 Cliff Donoughe

    It is no wonder that Medina City Schools are in disarray, the BOE doesn’t get it either! I’m not arguing worth here. I don’t agree that Dr. Stepp is worth a penny more than he was getting, but the BOE disagrees. Let’s say they are right, the facts are that we CAN’T AFFORD to pay more for a superintendent. When that time comes we should allow him to leave, wish him well, and find somebody we can afford. How can we cut the school days down but give Dr. Stepp a huge signing bonus? The BOE has their priorities wrong and it is no wonder that we can’t solve our funding problems.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1540908930 Cliff Donoughe

    I don’t know about anybody else, but it took me a minute to figure out the games that Grenfell is playing with the numbers here. The reason the superintendent costs per student are higher in most Medina schools is simply that their districts are smaller. A district with 1,000 students will have a 4X superintendent cost per student than a district with 4,000 students. If you want a more comparable number look at Brunswick which has a more comparable student population and their superintendent costs are actually lower. Thanks Mr. Grenfell for the misinformation!

  • Seriously

    “we believed was a fair and equitable offer, which he accepted because of his commitment to this district.”nHe didn’t accept because of his commitment to the district. He accepted because it was $83,000 in his pocket. Are you kidding me ? If he was committed to the district he’d have declined the $83,000 bonus and insisted that it go to keep the pay to play fees low, or re-hired a few reading/language teachers !! THAT would have shown commitment to the district and looking out for the best interest of the kids.

  • S. Phillips

    Mr. Grenfell’s litany of excuses is ridiculous. He’s just shown there is definitely no need to be voting for any school levies. If the school board can pay this kind of money to one person, then the school district doesn’t have a financial problem.

  • Richard Leiby

    Well Bill you and the rest of you crook buddy board members the lie with every word that comes out of your mouths need to step down right now tonight at this meeting. Because if you don’t the recall will remove all of you. You the board are only in this to take everything you can from the students anddistrict you can. As Stepp has happen. 83,000 sign on. Get real. Get out of office now thief. The tv stations are to you all now.

  • parent

    You are all out of touch! Do a little reasearch and find out what superintendents and teachers make. Did teachers not get a pay increase for 4 years? Are the paying 20% of their health. All this garbage is why I do not send my children to public schools. In public schools it is never about the childre. teachers are out for the teachers and administration is out for administration.

  • getem

    Wow. Black River is quite high. I suppose that could reflect the fact that they are having major problems with their super. Under qualified, abrasive, unprofessional,…The cost there is climbing because she seems to be “chasing” away more students than she could ever attract.

  • are you kidding me

    Now that we have been lied to AGAIN…does anybody know what the REAL levy numberis to keep our schools going? Not the one that includes this ridiculous salary.

  • OhioGuy10

    There is some misleading information in these numbers. You should look at similar districts for thisninformation. Medina has over 7,000 students and Buckeye has around 2,200 andnBlack River has 1,504. You would expect the larger schools to have a lower cost per student on administrative andnSupers. That should be a given. Economy of scales. The only school in thencounty that is close is Brunswick. Wadsworth has less than 5,000 kids. So doingnthe multiplication of 18.96 x 7354 (Medina enrollment 2011) I get 139, 431.nDidnu2019t the paper have his w-2 at 198,000? nI used numbers from the Ohio Department of Education. Do they think they can just throw up numbersnand we will believe them? Where is their source? Doesnu2019t anyone remember itnis easier to tell the truth!

  • SickOfCliffsComments

    Cliff, you are a sick dude and a radical….Your comments are very sick and mental. You must lay awake at night thinking of this stuff… You talk with absolutely no basis at all and base everything you know on hearsay…Your the one that needs more education. You even look sick dude. He gave his pay back and this should suffice for now…Let him without sin throw the first rock….I bet you could not even lift a rock…Get well soon you crum…..

  • Seriously

    Let’s use some common sense here. Paying for a single person’s education makes no sense. If he implements anything it will still be his rookie attempts at lean practices. Medina BOE would have been better served to hire an experienced consulting company than pay one person who’s not even that intelligent and has questionable ethics. Wake up BOE, Randy Stepp is NOT a flight risk, he would stay in Medina no matter what. He’s a local from Ashland! You can’t beat his part-year lucrative job in middle of nowhere Ohio with perks and benefits like no other found in industry. He’d have to uproot his family or travel to get anything comparable, and if comparable he’d be working overtime, traveling and have other stresses that most of us regular people have in the real world. With industry competition and talent, he certainly might not be the “executive” he finds himself as in Medina. No industry employer pays $250,000 for education or back-education costs, it’s nearly impossible to have your MBA or PhD paid for by your employer, and if they do pay it’s never gonna be 100% of the costs. Why would an employer pay for a bachelor’s degree that was earned years ago? He’s making out like a bandit no matter what happens from here. Sad sad story for Medina. Bill Grenfell you are such a huge disappointment for allowing this to happen. Susan Vlcek your a nice lady but so dumb and would you please wake up. So sorry for the teachers and kids. Medina BOE is a total embarrassment.