A split State Board of Education voted to retroactively raise the State Superintendent’s salary to $210,000 with a $20,000 bonus. Some members expressed their disagreement, believing Paolo DeMaria had not earned the increase or bonus. The final vote was eleven to five.
Ron Adler of the Ohio Coalition for Quality Education (OCQE) agreed with the minority. He does not believe DeMaria is working towards the best interest of all students. Furthermore, he noted the Governor’s salary is only $153,248.
In an email to his members, Adler wrote:
While it’s not clear what rubric the State Board used to evaluate Superintendent DeMaria, perhaps the next time they should consider, 1) Has the superintendent set forth a fair testing and school accountability system? 2) Is the superintendent uniform in his treatment of ALL schools? 3) Are the superintendent’s decisions always made in the best interest of ALL students?
Adler put DeMaria through his rubric. The result, “If these three areas had been included in the State Board’s recent evaluation, Superintendent DeMaria might have received an ‘F’.”
Some of the reasons Adler gave for the failing grade included the State Report Card system, the return of $22 million desperately needed for charter schools to the federal government and the refusal of the Ohio Department of Education to enforce consequences on charter school teachers who violate their contracts.
The President of OCQE also took a step back in time to fillet the Superintendent for his decision to allow the expedited closure of ECOT, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an online school that served more than 12,000 students and was closed in the middle of the school year.
“That callous decision denied 12,000 students an education in the ‘school of their choice’. Over 4,000 of those ECOT students were classified as special needs with disabilities who were supposed to be federally protected. Apparently, that little detail didn’t seem to matter,” Adler typed. (emphasis his)
State Board Member John Hagan, one of the five members to vote against the raise, expressed his sentiments about DeMaria’s job performance to The Ohio Star, “His communication with the board is terrible. He doesn’t respond to our questions in a timely fashion and some of our questions are never answered. It makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to do our job.”
“We’re devoid of information that we need to properly do our job. People [on the State Board] just move on and vote for things without being fully informed,” he exclaimed.
Hagan also commented on the process, noting that the Executive Committee had two proposals they considered, one to forego the bonus and provide a salary closer to $180,000, for which all 5 members of the Committee voted, and another that gave the Superintendent the larger increase plus a bonus, supported by only three of the five committee members.
“I was unpleasantly surprised by the process,” Hagan said, “and would encourage anyone who knows how these meetings should be run to watch the video.”
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