Northwestern: Ex-superintendent to get full pay for 13 months in move to consultant

Deal reached to avoid time, expense of protracted litigation, records reveal.

The deal Northwestern school board made with Jesse Steiner to leave his job as superintendent and serve as a consultant for 13 months will pay him his full salary and benefits and will not require him to work in-person or on a daily basis.

The agreement was reached “in order to avoid the time, expense, distraction and acrimony of protracted litigation.”

Those are some of the findings from a Springfield News-Sun review of the agreement obtained using Ohio’s public records laws.

A statement from the Northwestern Local School District Board of Education issued Tuesday night at a special meeting said Steiner and the board reached a “mutual agreement.”

The deal said the parties will not comment on the settlement agreement to the media unless required by law to do so and instead will refer to their joint statement.


An interim superintendent will be selected and will serve until a full-time replacement is selected.

“Mr. Steiner and the board reached the transition agreement amicably, which allows Mr. Steiner to provide services in a consulting role while pursuing other interests, and permits the board to seek hiring another superintendent,” the release stated.

Steiner, who received a nearly $15,000 raise from his last contract, was in the first year of a new contract that was to run until the end of July 2026.

Under the transition agreement, Steiner will resign effective Dec. 31, 2024, in exchange for the board to employ him as consultant to the superintendent from Dec. 1, 2023, to Dec. 31, 2024, with the same compensation and benefits under the terms of his contract as superintendent.

According to Steiner’s most recent contract, which was signed in June 2022, his annual base salary is $145,000. The board pays full retirement and the employee portion of Medicare tax, as well as any medical reports related to examinations, any professional meetings, reimbursement for any travel and other expenses related to official duties, and all membership dues in professional or civic organizations.

For his new role as a consultant, Steiner must generally be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, by phone and email, to respond in a “reasonable time to reasonable employment-related requests” from any interim superintendent, the next superintendent, and/or the treasurer.

Steiner will perform services “in line with his skills, education and experiences as superintendent/school administrator.” He will work full-time, as needed, and “give his full effort and cooperation.”

As part of the contract, Steiner can pursue other employment during the contract term, and if he takes another job, he will advise the board within three days of starting the other employment and the contract will be suspended during the period of the other employment.

However, according to the agreement, the board will continue to provide compensation to Steiner equal to the difference between the compensation and benefits in the consultant contract and the compensation and benefits he receives from the new employment, but only if they are less than the ones in this contact.

The board will also pay Steiner the difference between any insurance premiums he has to pay with the other employment that he wouldn’t have had to pay under the consultant contract.

If Steiner does not tell the board of other employment status and compensation and benefits, or engages in serious misconduct that would legally prevent his employment in a public school district, the agreement contract is considered breached and then terminated.

In early November, one week after the News-Sun filed a public records request for documents regarding Steiner’s work status and any potential complaints or investigations involving him, the district responded no such documents existed.

“The Northwestern Local School District Board of Education wishes to make it clear that this decision is not a result of any professional misconduct or impropriety and that the transition was a mutual agreement between the board and Mr. Steiner,” the release Tuesday night stated.

Both sides release the other from any legal claims as part of the deal reached.

About the Author