April 28, 2016


Interim superintendent to receive hourly rate

The Medina school board will meet tonight to finalize an interim superintendent’s contract for David Knight. Exactly how much Knight will earn is unclear.

The contract, which runs through June 30, calls for paying Knight an hourly rate of $37.50 rather than a salary because he only will work part time for the Medina district, board President Karla Robinson said.

David Knight

“We’re just essentially going to be paying the hourly rate for when he is with us,” she said.

Robinson said Knight is still under contract with Mapleton Schools, in Ashland County, where he works part time as director of special education.

The board hired Knight last week — two weeks after placing Superintendent Randy Stepp on paid leave pending completion of a special state audit of his spending of district money from a “carryover” fund held by the Medina County Schools’ Educational Service Center.

The audit is expected to be done by late May, Robinson said.

Knight, 61, is a well-known figure in Medina Schools. He retired as principal of Sidney Fenn Elementary School last year after a 22-year career there. Earlier this month, Fenn parents asked the district to name the playground at the elementary school after him. The PTO also bought a train for the playground in his honor.

Robinson said how much Knight works will vary, depending on what needs to be done.

“This contract is very simple, and we’re already very thrilled to have Dave aboard,” she said.

The board named Knight to the interim post last Tuesday and he started work Thursday.

Robinson said Knight has been busy, presiding over an expulsion hearing and appearing at the Medina City Schools Hall of Fame Induction on Friday.

The school board has been under intense public criticism since early March for approving a new contract for Stepp that provided him with an $83,000 signing bonus. Stepp has since agreed to give back the bonus in biweekly installments over the term of the contract, which ran through July 2019.

The board requested state Auditor Dave Yost examine the carryover fund after public records requests showed Stepp had used it to pay off $172,000 in old college loans and more than $94,000 for a master’s degree in business administration from Case Western Reserve University, in addition to travel expenses.

The payment of Stepp’s educational expenses was authorized by his amended 2009 contract, but board members said they did not know how big the bill would be.

Board members voted April 16 to rescind Stepp’s contract, saying they violated Ohio’s Sunshine Laws when they approved it Jan. 7 during a work session. Stepp has promised to fight the move in court.

The same day, board members voted to pull a planned 5.9-mill levy from the May ballot, saying they knew the issue would fail in light of the controversy.

Tonight’s 6:30 board meeting is at the Medina Community Recreation Center, 855 Weymouth Road.

Robinson said the board will discuss the provisions of Knight’s contract during a closed, executive session and approve the agreement after resuming the public meeting.

Also on the agenda is approval of tenure for some teachers.

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