April 24, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
53°F

School board member releases details of tentative pact

MEDINA — Medina teachers weren’t supposed to learn the specifics of a tentative agreement on a wage contract until today.

But school board member Bill Grenfell revealed some details of the pact Wednesday in an emailed response to a community member’s protests about Superintendent Randy Stepp’s new contract.

Bill Grenfell

John Leatherman, president of the Medina City Teachers Association, said Grenfell’s email violated state labor law, which bars publicizing the provision of tentative agreements without the consent of both sides.

“It’s not in good-faith bargaining to share details of negotiations with the public,” he said.

Leatherman said union members would receive copies of the tentative agreement before tonight’s meeting but would not vote on it until next week.

Teachers have been working under their old contract since June 2012.

The teachers association, which represents the district’s approximately 400 teachers, is protesting Stepp’s new five-year pact, which provides annual compensation of at least $186,000 in wages, bonus, allowance and other fringe benefits, along with a signing bonus of $83,000 designed to ensure Stepp doesn’t take another job.

The controversy over the new contract has sparked opposition to the school district’s 5.9-mill levy on the May ballot — including a Facebook page called “Medina City Schools Outrage.”

Union officials have called Stepp’s contract “incredibly ill-timed,” saying it hurts the chances of the membership approving the tentative wage pact for the teachers, as well as passage of the levy.

The board approved Stepp’s contract Jan. 7. But union officials have said they didn’t know about it until two weeks ago because the item was listed on the agenda as an amendment to the superintendent’s existing contract, which runs through July 2014.

In the email defending Stepp’s contract, Grenfell confirmed a report in The Gazette on Tuesday that the proposed two-year contract calls for no increases in teacher pay, except for longevity “step” increases.

But Grenfell also provided new details of the tentative agreement:

• High school teachers would be required to teach six periods instead of five.

• Teachers’ contributions for health care would increase from 17.5 percent to 20 percent at the end of the second year of the contract.

Grenfell said Stepp has paid 20 percent of his health care premiums for the past four years and works without an assistant superintendent.

“I defend both of these contracts and both parties,” Grenfell wrote. “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.”

Pat O’Brien, 56, who has been a teacher at Medina High School for 30 years, said teachers have made concessions in their last two contracts, and expected that to happen again. O’Brien attended Wednesday night’s board meeting.

“Right now, it’s more about the kids and the fiscal responsibility and the programming,” he said.

He said he didn’t have an opinion on Stepp’s new contract, except that he agreed with Leatherman, who said the contract approval was “ill-timed,” with the vote on the new teacher contract as well as the levy coming up.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.

Click here for the full text of Bill Grenfell’s e-mail: http://bit.ly/WSwdev

  • Seriously

    Well, Randy has been paying 20% all along… why shouldn’t the teachers? (SARCASM) Maybe because the teachers are paying out of pocket just for bare necessities to teach their classes? They’re being required to work more … for less. They have made concession after concession and haven’t had raises – because they actually CARE ABOUT THE KIDS? They aren’t being given HUGE bonuses for CRAP performance? They live in constant fear that they won’t have a job when the next cuts occur ? Or how about they aren’t making nearly $300k a year to begin with ?

  • Richard Leiby

    Well it looks as if the union needs to file charges for the out right violation of board on disclosure of parts of teachers up coming contract. I would hope the teachers tell ass Stepp and corrupt board where to stick the contract and then vote to strike as Strongsville has done. But not return until Ass Stepp and corrupt board are gone. Vote no on levy and yes on recall of school board. Teachers union you have support of the voters. Strike Strike Strike now. You have had no contract for almost a year now!!!!!

  • get real

    Maybe…just maybe….if parents want to guarantee a good education and make sure teachers get compensated fairly, and not ask them to pay out of pocket like the rest of working class America….maybe parents should pay tuition. Why should the burden of a levy be subjected to everyone who doesn’t agree with the way money is spent. If you’re a parent and want better for your child….pony up more money and help out….You can’t????? Maybe the rest of us can’t either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nathan.cook.9849 Nathan Cook

    Stepp’s salary is about $130k a year which seems very reasonable for a system with 700 employees. Medina’s admin expense as overall % of budget is one of the lowest in the state when compared to other similarly sized schools which frees up money to pay for other things like teachers. Timing of all of this is very unfortunate and that is the travesty of the whole thing. Without Stepp, the system could very well be worse off than it is and I believe the school board and teachers know it.

  • concernedmom

    Voting down the levy only hurts our children. This community needs to realize that our children have been hurt by all these cuts. You vote down levies to teach the administration a lesson but it only ruins our children’s education. No gifted program, music, electives etc. Aweful! The administration goes on uneffected. They still have their jobs and raises! Our kids are the ones in larger classes and study halls! Come on Medina think about the kids.

  • Medina resident

    Yes! It’s all BOE’s fault! Not ours, not our children’s! It’s a bad Mr. Stepp’s fault that Medina county has to spend $2.1 million on JUVENILE court and detention center, and more than $810K annually of delinquent tax collections. It’s all about Stepp’s $130K annual salary and signing bonus. Medina taxpayers, juvenile offenders and their parents do everything they can to be frugal and save Medina money, but Big Bad Mean Grey Wolf .. err… Randy Stepp ruins their happy present and future. Give me a break, if anything – he is underpaid. Executive successfully running 700 people staff usually gets paid much more than his salary.