Bonus rumors inflated

Grade card incentives at $150 per ‘A' — updated with PDF of emails
Alissa Widman Neese
Nov 2, 2013


Incentive-based bonuses at Margaretta Schools could net district officials an extra $900 each this year, according to district emails the Register received this week.

The emails, obtained through a public records request, indicate administrators and supervisors would receive $150 for every "A" earned on the district’s state report card.

The proposal would impact principals and other officials, but not the district’s superintendent or treasurer.

Board members have not yet approved the proposed amounts, which could change before their next meeting Nov. 18, when they’re expected to vote on the item.

They were set to vote on the proposal in September, but the board and administrators agreed they needed more time to review it. The item did not appear on October’s meeting agenda because the board’s finance committee members hadn’t yet met to discuss it.

“(The bonuses) are subject to change, but I don’t think they’ll increase,” treasurer Jude Hammond said.

The $900 bonus amount has already been factored into the district’s five-year financial forecast, Hammond said. The district’s budget is about $13 million a year.

Margaretta Schools students scored highest in the area on this year’s state report cards, earning six "As" and three "Bs" total. The scores were among the highest of all 600 school districts in the state. About a month after the state released the report cards, the incentive-based bonuses first appeared as a proposal on a board meeting agenda.

The emails the Register obtained indicate rumors surrounding the bonuses have permeated the Castalia area, particularly regarding the amount district officials would receive.

In an email exchange dated Oct. 4, Deanna Faber, a district employee, mentions a public post regarding the bonuses on the district’s Facebook page. Julie Wiswell, a relative of a Margaretta Schools employee, questioned the policy and mentioned a rumored $5,000 bonus amount, Faber said.

“Are we responding to this? Could be deadly...” board president Joann McMahon said about the Facebook post, forwarding the message to superintendent Ed Kurt.

No further email exchanges concerning the subject followed, according to the emails the Register received. When accessed this week, the district’s Facebook page did not permit individuals to post public messages on its timeline, and Wiswell’s comment was no longer visible.

Leslie Wiswell, Julie's mother, and community member Lonnie Siesel spoke against the incentive-based bonuses proposal at an October board meeting.

Leslie identified herself as a district librarian and said she hasn’t received a pay raise in five years, but Margaretta Schools treasurer Jude Hammond said Monday those statements are untrue.

Leslie is an educational aide who works in the Margaretta High School Library and is part of a classified staff union, whose members all received base pay increases in January 2012, Hammond said. She earns about $21,500 a year, or about $16 an hour.

Read Margaretta Schools administrator emails by downloading the pdf below

Margaretta Schools employees set to receive bonuses and their current salaries:

• Ryan Bohn, high school assistant principal, athletic director, $70,200

• Leroy Carroll, support services director, $76,700

• Deanna Faber, EMIS coordinator, $32,300

• Mark Freeh, technology director, $62,600

• Kathy Hall, school psychologist, special education supervisor, $77,400

• Lynn Hurd, elementary school principal, $84,200

• Sarah Ransom, food services supervisor, $40,900

• Troy Roth, high school principal, $90,100

The proposed bonuses are $150 per “A” received on the district’s state report card, or $900 total this year, according to emails the Register obtained through a public records request.

Note: All figures rounded

Note: This post has been modified to clarify information that inaccurately identified a Margaretta Schools employee.



Wow, it is difficult enough to pass a school levy and staff is going to get bonuses? Just do the job you are already paid to do and forget about the bonuses. Every school board member that passes this should be fired off the board.


Really? You have a problem with some of their compensation being objectively merit-based? What color is the sky in your world?


Umm? Directors and Principals.... How about compansating the TEACHERS that TAUGHT the student. Just like big corparations. Worker make the parts and products and CEOs get the bonuses.


It's my understanding both unions have received raises, and this is the first raise non-union administrators have received in 4 or 5 years. Nothing wrong with it being merit-based in my opinion.

SR, I think you have your facts wrong - Julie Wiswell is not a district employee.

Alissa Widman Neese's picture
Alissa Widman Neese

The post has been modified to fix the error. Thanks.

Castalia Gal

Personally there is nothing wrong with "objective merit based raises." Either they are raises or they are a one time bonus. Which is it? Not certain if the Sandusky Register is "spinning" this to create controversy or if there should have been better explanation when presented to the board (public).

If these are indeed "merit based raises" for "non-union administrators" as pbfan85 states then why are they being called an incentive bonus for performance on the district report card? Curious how a support services (transportation) director and food service supervisor have a part in student performance test results??

This is becoming a public perception nightmare which I believe Joann McMahon was concerned about. Should have been better communication to alleviate these misperceptions and rumors!


From:"Six Tips for Reading Your School’s State Report Card":
"Tip #3. If you pay attention to just one number, look at the performance index." Margaretta's was a "B" and numerically - 82.9% (B = 80.0-89.9) hence a very low B.
Note to current and future board members: Do not give my property tax dollars as bonuses to officials who have NO impact on students test scores. Remember, we are a public, non-profit school, (financially challenged with declining enrollment) not a for-profit corporation with excess cash. If they want bonuses I suggest they transfer to the private sector and they perform better than a "B-".


Why should anyone get a bonus for doing the job they were hired to do?


Because there are degrees to which they can do it.


Bonuses for doing your job occasionally happens in some businesses. However, they are, and should be, given to the appropriate people. Why not use that money to do something for the kids?