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Education

Timing tough for new Woodridge leader

By John Published: July 9, 2010

By John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer

The new superintendent of Woodridge schools will start Aug. 1 — the same day the contract with the teachers union expires.

Walter C. Davis, 44, will join the school board's negotiating team with talks already under way on a new contract.

The school board hired Davis, who was assistant superintendent for the neighboring Cuyahoga Falls district, last week to replace Jeff Graham, the new Parma school superintendent.

Davis will make $110,000 a year, about $6,500 less than his predecessor.

The district will pick up the entire employee share of his pension contribution, which will be 11 percent of his salary, said Woodridge Treasurer
Deanna Levenger.

Woodridge also will pay his 1.45 percent employee Medicare contribution.

Davis takes over a district with just under 2,000 students. It enjoys the highest ranking on the state report card, ''Excellent with Distinction,'' and renewed two operating levies in May.

But he will have to hit the ground running on negotiations for the teachers union and the union representing janitors, bus driver and other support staff.

Talks have begun with the Woodridge Education Association and will begin soon with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 544. OAPSE's contract expired July 1, Levenger said.

''I've already been talking to the treasurer, and I've been brought up to speed about where the issues stand,'' Davis said.

Otherwise, Davis said, he intends to sustain Woodridge's academic rating and financial stability.

He has spent the past 21 years working for the Cuyahoga Falls district, which has about 5,000 students, first as a science teacher, then as an elementary school principal and coordinator.

He was assistant superintendent for the past six years.


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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