September 18, 2014

Medina
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Knight: I’m with Medina Schools as long as needed

MEDINA — David Knight said he is willing to stay on as interim superintendent of Medina Schools as long as the board needs him.

“Mr. Knight has kindly offered to extend his contract,” board President Karla Robinson said following Monday night’s board work session.

David Knight

Knight was named interim superintendent in April 23 after the board placed Superintendent Randy Stepp on paid leave pending the outcome of a special state audit into his use of district money from a carryover account held by the Medina County Schools’ Educational Service Center.

Last month, the board also asked that the audit include Stepp’s use of the district’s American Express credit card in December 2007.

Knight, the retired principal of Sidney Fenn Elementary School, agreed on a contract to run through June 30. He is paid $30 an hour.

School officials had said they hoped the special audit would be finished by the end of May, but now they’re not sure when it might be completed.

Robinson said the auditors have not yet informed the board when the audit will be complete. The board has not yet received a draft copy.

The audit will examine spending from the fund, which included more than a quarter-million dollars to pay off Stepp’s old college loans and for a master’s in business administration from Case Western Reserve University.

Stepp’s contract obligated the district to pay for his “past academic degrees,” and for college courses he took as superintendent. But school board members have said they did not know the full cost.

Stepp filed a lawsuit in federal court May 17 against school board members and other district officials, charging them with breach of contract, defamation and invasion of privacy.

In the suit, Stepp charges that the board was fully aware of the full cost of the contract provisions but falsely claimed ignorance in a March 22 news release.

The board members named in the suit all voted to rescind Stepp’s contract April 16, arguing it was not valid because the board had violated the state’s open meeting law by failing to properly publicize the Jan. 7 meeting when it was approved.

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