June 28, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Wadsworth school treasurer’s raise halts contract talks with teachers

Teachers in the Wadsworth school district said negotiations with school administrators  have broken down since teachers learned earlier this year that the treasurer received a salary increase.

Lori Robinson, co-president of the Wadsworth Education Association, which represents about 250 teachers in the district, said teachers were upset to learn Treasurer

Douglas Beeman received a salary increase of $11,000. The increase puts his salary at $104,618 and offers a $10,000 incentive bonus annually if he meets goals set by the board. Beeman also received a raise and a bonus during the 2013-14 school year. His salary was raised from $91,131 to $93,409 and he was awarded a $7,500 bonus.

“Teachers are very angry because his contract has increased each year, where our last contract had no raises,” Robinson said.

The teachers union has been in contract negotiations since March, and the two sides are working with a federal mediator.

“(Beeman’s contract is) making it difficult to negotiate with our members. We have 250 members who have to vote to ratify any contract,” she said.

School board President Linda Kramer said her board had lengthy discussions about the raise for Beeman, but agreed it was fair pay for an important administrator.

“Our treasurer is above and beyond anything anyone could want,” she said.

Kramer said she was disappointed the agreement to pay Beeman more had affected negotiations. “I think Beeman, the teachers, they’re all worth more than they get.”

Superintendent Andrew Hill said he is disappointed negotiations have faltered and hopes talks next week can yield an agreement between the district and teachers.

“We always hope to work toward a resolution both sides can work with,” he said. “But we want to be responsible with the money our community has given us,”

Beeman said he was aware teachers were upset over his pay, but said he’s not ashamed of the raise.

“I think I’m competitive with my peers in the Summit County area,” he said.

He said the bonus is given to him only after he meets a series of goals the board sets and they review a report he prepares detailing whether he reached his goals.

“It’s up to them to grant me the bonus,” he said. “I have to meet my goals and prove they have been met.”

The board’s next meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8.

<em>Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or <a href=”mailto://lgenson@medina-gazette.com”>lgenson@medina-gazette.com</a>. Follow her on Twitter <a href=”http://twitter.com/lorengenson”>@lorengenson</a>.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.