Medina Residents Vent Contract Frustrations

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MEDINA, Ohio -- Residents of Medina are still venting their frustrations about a controversial contract their school superintendent received from the school board.

A few hundred people packed a Wednesday night school board meeting held at Medina High School, still reeling over the lucrative contract that the school board gave its superintendent Dr. Randy Stepp earlier this year.

It included a salary of $136,000, merit pay raises, an $83,000 signing bonus and education reimbursements of more than a quarter million dollars.

"For the taxpayers, for the teachers and for our town, I'm requesting the resignation of each and every one of you, including Randy Stepp," said one parent.

"Those people who have called for resignations, I think all of you need to sincerely look at yourself, question yourself and wonder if that isn't the proper goal for all of you," said Mark Kuhar.

The weeks-long controversy forced school board president Charley Freeman to resign on Tuesday.  The new head of the board read part of his resignation letter.

"It is my sincere hope that with new leadership, the board, union, teachers, administrators and community, can again come together and place our collective focus where it belongs, on the kids," said Karla Robinson.

The controversy also forced the superintendent to return his signing bonus and merit pay raises.

"Everything that I did in regard with my contract was above board, there is no doubt in my mind that I have documents to support that, I know that everything I did with regard to the board paying my education was also above board," Dr. Randy Stepp told the audience.

Still, many Medina parents, teachers and residents are not satisfied.

"I believe it's now time to open Dr. Stepp's existing contract to remove all perks, bonuses and signing bonus, cap the number of sick days and vacation days," said a retired teacher.

The head of the teachers union says he applauds the board president's resignation and the superintendent giving back part of his salary.

"I think that's a step in the right direction, you know, maybe some of the other leadership will follow that as an example, as president of the association, I'm not gonna, I guess, lead the crusade for that," said Medina City Teachers Union president John Leatherman.

Dr. Stepp says he will begin repaying his bonus and merit raises in installments, starting Friday.  He also says that the money will be put into a special fund for unique student activities and special programs for teachers.

Also, many parents and resident voiced concern that the controversy could jeopardize a levy on the ballot in May.

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