December 18, 2014

Medina
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Teachers union files grievances against board

MEDINA — The Medina City Teachers Association has filed two grievances against the school administration, charging board members with violating the teachers’ contract.

The first grievance charges the school board failed to provide correct minutes from the Jan. 7 board work session, where Superintendent Randy Stepp’s new five-year contract was approved, as required by the union contract.

The second grievance alleges school board member William Grenfell violated the contract on March 6 by releasing details of a tentative agreement on a new teachers’ contract reached with union negotiators before the union’s approximately 400 teachers were informed.

Union President John Leatherman said the agenda the union received before the Jan. 7 “work session” meeting did not contain any reference to Stepp’s new contract.

The minutes of the meeting given the union a few days later also failed to include the board’s unanimous approval of the contract.

It was not until the board’s Jan. 22 regular meeting that the minutes were revised to include the approval of what was described as an “amendment to the Superintendent’s administrative contract.”

Union representatives met with Stepp on Wednesday for an informal hearing on the grievances. Stepp has several days to respond.

Leatherman added that the union may bring legal challenges against Stepp’s contract — in addition to the grievances.

But he downplayed the second grievance, pointing out that “Mr. Grenfell did apologize” for disclosing details of the tentative agreement in an email that he issued in response to the public outcry over Stepp’s contract, which included an $83,000 signing bonus.

The union membership earlier this month overwhelmingly approved the new teachers’ contract, which freezes wages except for “step increases” for time in service and college coursework.

The board’s approval of the pact Wednesday means that grievance “is going to pretty much be done,” Leatherman said.

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