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Middletown Families Don’t Want Former Hazelwood Superintendent Steve Price Back

A forum out of Middletown, Ohio reveals that many parents in Price's previous district have very negative feelings about his time there. Could this be an indication of why the Hazelwood District replaced him?

Since the is only able to release a limited amount of information regarding , Hazelwood Patch has been unable to obtain specifics about his replacement so far.

But in response to requests from our readers, we’ve done some digging on our own, and here’s what we found in our investigation.

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Middletown Families Speak Out

People from Middletown, Ohio have been expressing their concerns over Price since at least 2010. Price served the Middletown district for seven years.

We found several online examples of how Middletown folks seem to feel about Price and his years of service to their district.

In a forum post at MiddletownUSA.com, a user wrote that Price was hired because he’d been able to get “major levies passed at his last school district,” before implying that Price was the reason the school district had become one of the lowest performing in the state.

“Price was paid at least two major bonuses and extended his contract because he got levies passed, while taking our schools from low/medium to some of the lowest performing schools in the state,” the forum poster wrote. “Also, the school board allowed Price to cut hours and bussing (hurting an already failing system) in 2007 even though the schools were funded for that year and the money from the levy was not collected until 2009.”

Another user said that Price was actually fired, but that he’d been used as a scapegoat for a larger problem in the district. This user added that people were complaining about the problems “without realizing the hired superintendant has no expertise in turn-arounds, has not dealt with turn-arounds in drop-out rates greater than 20%, because he is coming from an elementary background.”

Newell's Hiring in Hazelwood Brings Déjà_vu for Middletown

When Hazelwood West Principal Dennis Newell was hired last year, the Middletown forums heated up again. A forum member posted a copy of a press release about Newell’s move to the Hazelwood district, along with his own comments.

“Price is at it again with the lies,” he wrote, before quoting a line of the press release. "He has extensive experience managing a large high school and improving student achievement."

The poster continued, “Again, IMPROVING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. Price can't be talking about the Middletown schools here.”

“Price is starting the lies again in St. Louis and those people don't know it yet. Mercy. They will in time,” posted another forum member.” Just hope it doesn't take them 7 years to realize Price is all talk and no action at taxpayer expense.”

“Feel sorry for that particular St. Louis school district,” wrote another poster. “The Price carnage continues elsewhere. They will soon learn about who they have chosen and it won't be a happy occasion.”

Price is Replaced in Hazelwood, Middletown Families Respond

When Price was replaced in the Hazelwood district last week, Middletown residents once again hit the forums to share their thoughts. A forum member posted the Hazelwood District’s release on the replacement, which launched the discussion.

“Good Lord I hope the man doesn't show up in any capacity in this town,” wrote one poster. “Did a lot of damage while here to student performance and to teacher and staff moral with little to no progress made.”

“Oh please no,” another posted.

Conservative blogger Jeffrey Jena has also written about Price several times since 2009, mostly in relation to his Middletown history.

Speak Out: How do you feel knowing that the Middletown community was so unhappy with Price before he came to Hazelwood? Do you believe that the community's comments could indicate why Price was replaced here? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

K September 05, 2012 at 01:47 AM
I hope more research was done on the incoming superintendent.
Angela Atkinson (Editor) September 05, 2012 at 02:04 AM
K--I'm sure they'll be very careful with the hiring of the new superintendent. As for the interim superintendent, my understanding is that there is a long history with the district--so they know exactly who they're getting this time. That's comforting, I think.
Mary Smith September 05, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I'm a retired Middletown teacher. According to state reports. Middletown was NEVER even an average performing district. If you look at the history of state testing in Ohio, you will find that Middletown ranked in academic emergency, academic watch, and then continuous improvement. Price was the leader when the district improved. I don't know where people get off saying that he hurt district improvement when, in reality, he led it to improvement.
Jeannine September 05, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Mary, Good for you for posting this comment. I support anything good that anybody does for children, including Dr. Price. If that is the case, (because as my blog states, I don't know if it was necessary to remove him or not), then this gives parents in our district another thing to think about. At what level exactly is the shortfall if there is one? Thanks:)
Angela Atkinson (Editor) September 05, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Mary, Thanks very much for adding your voice to the conversation! I really appreciate your insider perspective--it definitely changes the way the situation appears from here. Thanks again!
Angela Atkinson (Editor) September 05, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Good point, Jeannine. It makes you wonder where the weak link lies and how we can strengthen it.

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