June 30, 2016

Partly 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.