Reynoldsburg school board and superintendent reach agreement

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

The long odyssey between Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning and the Reynoldsburg Board of Education is coming to an end, but a final agreement between the two parties comes with a hefty price tag.

On June 27, the board approved the settlement with the superintendent—who will serve as a home-based consultant in exchange for resigning at the end of July. Thomas-Manning will provide services in line with her skills, education and experience on a regular, day-to-day basis.

She also agrees to waive her right to file any charges, complaints or lawsuits against the board regarding harassment, discrimination of any type and improper evaluation and to not seek election to the school board.

In exchange, the board will pay Thomas-Manning a one-time $100,000, 252-day contract on or about Aug.1 and rescind their Sept. 20, 2016 non-renewal of her superintendent’s contract.

While Thomas Manning is required to cover the costs of her home office, she may continue to use district-owned technology such as a laptop, monitor and iPad.

“Most of the items were approved at a previous board meeting,” said board President Joe Begeny. “These are just finishing touches.”

The Thomas-Manning agreement—along with an addendum to incoming Superintendent Melvin Brown’s April 19 to July 31 consultant contract that compensates him $654 per day for up to 30 days, along with $125 for overnight travel—was unanimously approved by the board.

Both parties agreed to not comment on the settlement unless required by law and to respond to media inquiries by only presenting the agreement, which each side said is a compromise reached in order “to avoid (the) time, expensive distractions and acrimony of protracted litigation.”

According to the document—signed by Thomas-Manning on June 15—in addition to the one-time salary disbursement, the board will provide the same health and life insurance packages that principals receive, pick up her entire State Teachers Retirement System share, offer mileage reimbursement and provide 20 days of vacation leave.

The board denies any and all claims Thomas-Manning may have asserted and alleged it acted lawfully and in compliance with all laws and regulations.

The settlement document states, “The board and Tina Thomas-Manning negotiated extensively in good faith and intend to effect a full, final and complete settlement of all disputes.”

During the term of the contract, Thomas-Manning agrees to “use her best efforts to obtain full time employment or a consulting contract…other than with the board.”

If she accepts other full time employment during the term of the agreement, Thomas-Manning agrees to tender her resignation. If she does not secure other employment by July 31, 2018, she can file for a one-year unpaid leave of absence. At the end of the LOA, if Thomas-Manning is still unemployed, she can file a request to return to a teaching position within the district or apply for another unpaid leave.

In a statement from a special June 14 board meeting, Thomas-Manning said serving as superintendent for the past three years has “certainly been challenging, but that is the nature of the hard work necessary to provide the best teachers who will deliver the highest quality of instruction, to ensure the maximum growth and achievement for every child.”

She then stated, “Today, I am excited about the opportunity to give back to the students in the district. It is with great pleasure that I share my intention to donate over $50,000 to the Reynoldsburg School District to be held in an education fund in my name.”

Funds from the Tina Thomas-Manning Education Foundation will be used to support and enhance learning experiences and student educational pursuits. The exact terms and criteria of the awards, their amounts, selection of award recipients and other matters will be strictly determined by Thomas-Manning and her family.

“I hope that the board will embrace this wonderful opportunity to support and enhance student learning. I wish Reynoldsburg City Schools and its children all my best. I am grateful and humbled to have served them,” said Thomas-Manning.

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