Many parents left a school board meeting at Medina High School angry and still looking for answers. A special meeting was called due to an expected large turnout.
About three dozen Medina High School students demonstrated in front of their school Wednesday evening. They are pushing for the passage of a levy on the ballot in May, and some question a recent pay raise and bonus the superintendent received in January.
"The public sees that he's getting paid a large amount of money and that makes them unwilling to vote for the levy because they feel like the school district is already shelling out tons of money for his salary, so they don't feel like they should vote yes for the levy, and it hurts our chances of getting it passed," said student Matt Brubaker.
"Voting no for the levy isn't gonna change his bonus and voting yes is just gonna ensure the younger kids to have a better life and more opportunities," said senior Carli Turrittin.
Recently parents and students learned through social media that the Medina school board gave the superintendent an $83,000 retention incentive on top of his $139,000 annual salary.
School board members say Dr. Randy Stepp is worth the money they're paying him. "There are a lot of good districts out there that are looking for good leadership and he's on their list and we want to make sure that he stays here, and is the consistent leadership in this district that I think people expect," said school board member Susan Vlcek.
"Why are you wasting our time? I changed my schedule around to be here," yelled one parent during the short board meeting.
Parents who attended Wednesday's special meeting did not leave with the answers they wanted. The meeting lasted only a few minutes before the board went into executive session. They were told to write down their questions, which would be answered on the district's website.
"I wasn't even really upset. I just wanted to hear more information and I don't understand why would they post that there's an open meeting to the public. I mean, it was posted, and then tell people oh, you can submit your questions via email," said parent Michelle Bunn.
"They increase his pay; this is the second bonus he's gotten the past four years. They don't have any money and he takes the money when we're losing teachers and we're losing programs and there's just no conscience to it," said parent Rick Rohlke.
"We are constantly told to do more with less, yet you can see the public sentiment; it's a hard time to understand why the bonus was given," said Medina Teacher's Association President John Leatherman.
"Whether you agree or don't agree with the contract, really voting no for the levy isn't gonna change that," said parent Brigid Turrittin, who is spearheading the effort to pass a levy.
Another school board meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Friday at the high school's Performing Arts Center.