Tefs to be Interim at Green – Board Divided
At an emergency meeting on Feb. 1, the WCSD Board of Education amended WCSD Superintendent Michael Tefs’s contract, allowing him to be interim superintendent of Green Local School District, which serves the Smithville and environs, and a pay reduction of $5,000 a month.
The Board split 3-2 in both votes with Board President Michael Knapic, Vice President Susan Marlar, and Bill Gantz voting in favor of the two measures, and L. Sue Herman and Janice Gallagher dissenting.
On Jan. 27, Green Superintendent Judy Robinson resigned from her position.
GLSD Board of Education Vice President Randy Brillhart said that in her letter of resignation Robison wrote that she resigned in order to assist other educational organizations.
As to why Tefs was selected, Brillhart said, “We have an interest in maybe taking a harder look at some of our curriculum and making sure those programs are serving the students well, and it was expressed to us that Dr. Tefs has a strong background in that area.”
Brillhart also said Tefs’s and the WCSD board’s openness to the arrangement contributed to the pick.
The contract discussed at the board meeting allows the arrangement to extend as long as July 31, 2017, but Knapic stressed that the arrangement could be reviewed monthly.
Tefs said in an interview, “I’ll be very surprised if I’m still there on June 1.”
Brillhart said the Green Board of Education had already initiated its search for a new superintendent and confirmed that there would be a replacement as early as April and as late as July.
Tefs stressed his role as interim would be limited.
“What’s going to be my role is working with the board of education and keeping board business moving until they can get someone,” Tefs said.
Tefs said he was proud and flattered that Green asked him and stressed his motivation in helping was to help a neighbor in need.
At the Feb 1 meeting Gallagher and Herman expressed their discontent.
Gallagher said the Green district has 3 members of its current staff with superintendent’s licenses.
At the meeting, Herman said, “I feel terrible for them, but I also know, having checked, that there are people with this certification. This would be a time for them to step up in their own district, they know all those people.”
Both members asserted that community members were concerned that being interim at Green would draw Tefs attention from the district.
Tefs guaranteed he would leave Wooster sometime after 3 p.m. on two days of the week to go to Green and work every evening.
“I think I could serve and do it on more of what I consider my time. That would be my issue that I have to worry about, not Wooster’s time,” Tefs said.
The superintendent said on the days he goes to Green, the transportation supervisor and building principals will be able to handle any problems that arise on the return routes.
Gallagher was adamant in her opposition avering, “I’m very selfish, I want you here for the the children of the Wooster City Schools.”
There are local examples of long-term superintendent sharing.
Jon Ritchie, who is Superintendent of Rittman, Orrville, and Southeast School Districts said of his arrangement, “Every school district is different, but I would say in my community we’ve been doing it for quite some time, and it’s been working out very well.”
Tefs also said Central Office employees would not receive a pay increase to compensate for the possible extra work.
Tefs negotiated his own contract with Green Local, and Brillhart declined to discuss that contract.