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Falls superintendent to resign

By John Published: March 23, 2011

John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer

Cuyahoga Falls school superintendent Edwin Holland has to pass a levy in May at his current job and then launch a November levy campaign for his new job as superintendent of the Cuyahoga Heights school district.

He joins the new district on Aug. 1 at an annual salary of $141,000. The district also will pay Holland's employee contribution to his retirement plan during the four-year contract, a benefit the Falls also has provided.

Holland makes $115,573 a year at the Falls a district that is five times as large as Cuyahoga Heights.

The Falls school board offered to sweeten Holland's contract in a special meeting March 5. Although base pay would have remained the same, the board offered to improve his pension, annuity and options for converting some of his vacation days and unused sick leave into cash at the end of his contract, which was extended to 2015.

''When you look at Cuyahoga County school districts, they tend to be a much higher pay range than what we have,'' said school board president Therese Dunphy. ''We tried to be as generous as we could and to address issues of long-term security.''

The board will hear from two search services the Ohio School Boards Association and Finding Leaders when it meets on March 28.

''The one thing that we have talked about in previous meetings is that we want community involvement to be part of the process,'' Dunphy said. ''Both of these services engage people who are community members and staff members in terms of identifying what kind of qualities you're looking for in a superintendent and what your priorities are.''

She said the search likely will focus on candidates in Northeast Ohio.

''We are in a kind of a crunch position because we want to have somebody in before July 31,'' Dunphy said.

The Cuyahoga Heights school board hired Holland on March 16.

''I was hired in here as superintendent six years ago with certain goals in mind and I think I've accomplished those goals and established a lot of progress in the district,'' Holland said. ''We've developed financial stability and worked through a financial crisis as well as moving from continuous improvement to the excellent rating the last two years.''

The Falls has about 5,000 students to 950 in Cuyahoga Heights.

''That's an attractive part too,'' Holland said of his new job. ''I get a chance to work more closely with the students and staff.''

But before he moves on, he wants to secure three new labor contracts with teachers, support staff and custodians, bus drivers and maintenance workers.

''We're having informal discussions now to try to address those issues. Since we're running into an anticipated $1.4 million deficit at the end of next school year, we're working on those contract items now.''

The district also has an operating levy on the May 3 ballot.

''Those are the critical things I'd like to be able to clean up and put closure on so the new person coming in will be able to hit the ground running.''

He said the Cuyahoga Heights school district had planned to go on the ballot in May, but withdrew because of its search to replace the superintendent, who retired after 15 years.

''They will have a ballot issue in November,'' Holland said. ''They've been pretty supportive, but they've got a pretty strong commercial tax base.''

Cuyahoga Heights, like Mogadore, Streetsboro and Twinsburg, receives significant revenue from local business taxes that are being phased out.

The state had been replacing lost revenue from those taxes and districts expected to be made whole an additional two years.

However, Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget speeds up the phase-out of local business taxes and does not make districts whole for that reduction.


John Higgins can be reached at 330-996-3792 or jhiggins@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the education blog at http://education.ohio.com/.

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