April 16, 2014

Mostly sunny

Audit of county education fund could cost $14K

Medina Schools Treasurer Jim Hudson said the special state audit of the district’s “carryover” fund held by the Medina County Schools’ Educational Service Center would cost up to $14,000.

The Medina school board unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday night with the state auditor’s office.

Hudson said the audit would cover transactions made on the district’s behalf dating from July 1, 2005, to March 31 of this year.

“They will be looking at every single transaction that the ESC has made on behalf of the district and, in addition, they will break out any transactions that the ESC provided directly for an administrator,” he said.

The school board requested that state Auditor Dave Yost conduct the special audit of Medina Schools Superintendent Randy Stepp’s use of the carryover fund — money left over after the district paid for services from the Educational Service Center, such as staff development for teachers, behavioral consulting and nursing.

The fund was used to pay off Stepp’s federal college loans and the cost of a master’s degree in business administration.

The Gazette reported that in 2008 Stepp was reimbursed $4,782.89 from the ESC fund for a trip to Orlando, Fla., for a National School Boards Association conference. Stepp was accompanied by his wife and three teenage daughters and has said he billed the district only for his expenses. But records show he included receipts for two nights at a luxury hotel after the four-day conference ended.

Pending the outcome of the audit, which Hudson said would not be completed until May, Stepp was placed on paid administrative leave April 8.

The discussion of the audit came toward the end of a three-hour meeting where the board approved a resolution to rescind Stepp’s contract, heard from the public about pulling the 5.9-mill levy off the May ballot, and then voted to pull the levy.

Board President Karla Robinson said the board would discuss when to place another levy on the ballot later in the year.

After the public meeting ended, the board went into executive session to “consider the appointment/employment of a public employee.”

The board has not yet appointed an interim superintendent to replace Stepp. The board returned from executive session shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday without taking any formal action, according to video posted of the meeting Wednesday.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.

  • Common Sense

    And where is THIS money coming from. PLEASE, stop. Put your pencils down. Times up. Is anyone keeping track of the money we are wasting here? 14k to audit the books, 20k for a P.R. firm, 30k to kill the levy, 1.2 mil on a horrible contract, 83k for a signing bonus, 125k for student loans….when and where is this going to stop? The next thing we will hear is that you have no more money and we need a levy twice as big as what we originally thought…to cover our mistakes. NO MORE. Period. End of Discussion. Maybe you should start giving up the money you make by being on the board first. Hire a attorney that knows this stuff, let them handle this and then RESIGN. Collectively, you are killing OUR town. I don’t know how you can walk down the streets of Medina. I’d be hiding in my basement…too ashamed to come out. Thanks for nothing.

  • Buffalo

    I’d say this is nickel-and-diming the taxpayers to death, but it’s obviously way past that at this point. An audit needs to be done – not only to find out what has been going on, but to also find out who has been doing it. Someone (or a bunch of someone’s!) needs to be held accountable for this mess. Once those who are responsible have been determined, they need to start paying everything back or face prosecution. This soap opera has to stop, it is truly a source of embarrassment for the entire community.

  • http://twitter.com/Mielegirl Mielegirl

    The audit is necessary to find out if RS made any mistakes in his administration of the fund. Hopefully, he did, and this can relieve Medina City Schools of him and his burdensome contract. It could save a lot in the long run.

  • Medina resident

    “Mistakes” will not suffice. Gross negligence and/or criminal acts would be required to terminate the contract. I doubt RS did anything like that. Erroneous receipts back in 2008 will give nothing – they can’t “claw back” payments for longer than 3 years back. In any case – he is paid less than 200K per year with occasional “perks” here and there. It hardly explains multimillion deficits (3+, 5+ and eventually 15+ millions in 2016) in the school district. RS is just a scape-goat in the current witch-hunt for a guilty party. Perhaps he is somewhat overpaid, but by no means by large enough amount to cure current financial ills in the district.

  • Truth Sayer

    You vocalized the outrage of the citizens well.