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Cumberland School Board Will Discuss Stepp’s Contract

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cumberland School Board Will Discuss Stepp’s Contract

The Cumberland County School Board will consider the Director of Schools request to renegotiate his contract, following a Thursday night discussion.

Billy Stepp asked the board to consider his agreement after receiving a positive evaluation. Stepp said many school systems consider raises and extensions annually based on such an evaluation. Board Member Nicholas Davis said having the discussions make sense.

“I would imagine that being proactive in retaining the service of someone that is producing results would be in our best interest,” Davis said. “And if all that entails is going through the negotiation process of understanding what is valuable to Mr. Stepp, to feel confident his duties, to continue doing what he’s doing and beyond, I think we owe that to him and our self and community to hear what it is that he feels like is valuable to him, given where he came in and where we are and where we’re trying to go. If there are things that are not included in there, clearly, if the contract included all of those things, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

Stepp’s current deal runs through 2025, with a deadline set for next March to negotiate a next step. The School Board will discuss at its next meeting whether to negotiate with the whole board involved or with a created contract committee. Meantime, Stepp said he will send the board a new agreement with changes he would like to see.

“I’m requesting to renegotiate the contract, which could mean a new contract, which could mean a different salary,” Stepp said. “That’s what we do in negotiations, is we see what one side wants and what another side wants.”

The board spent at least 20 minutes at the start of the meeting deciding whether to address the issue. At least two School Board members had asked the issue be placed on the agenda for discussion, but those requests came after the agenda had been published. At one point, the board was stalemated, with no approved agenda to conduct the meeting.

“I am really surprised,” Board Member Robert Safdie said. “The compromise was to put it on the old, under old business for a full discussion. And then you have four board members who decided to stonewall the meeting for no particular reason at all, because their item was on the agenda, as under old business. And yet they still did not want to approve the agenda even though it was under old business. This is an embarrassment.”


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