June 28, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Robinson to leave school board with Vlcek

MEDINA — Medina school board President Karla Robinson announced that she would resign effective Jan. 1 instead of in May as she had planned.

Robinson and board member Susan Vlcek, who also is resigning effective Jan. 1, shed tears during their last regular meeting as members of the board.

Karla Robinson

Susan Vlcek

Robinson and Vlcek announced in September that they would not serve out their full terms in response to the public furor over the new contract approved in January for Superintendent Randy Stepp.

The public uproar over Stepp’s contract led to the board rescinding the contract and requesting a special state audit of Stepp’s spending, which reported that Stepp had illegally spent at least $4,121.

The board placed Stepp on unpaid leave and voted to start the process to fire him in October.

Stepp has gone to court to challenge the firing and the audit results. The board also has sued Stepp.

“I have labored hard for the past two years.” Robinson said, “The personal cost has become too great for me to continue.”

She pleaded with the community to turn away from negativity and remain respectful to the people who are committing their time to the community.

Vlcek has served 15 years on the board. “The challenge we have now is coming together as a community to be builders (of education),” Vlcek said during her final remarks. The two resignations mean that all five members who voted to approve Stepp’s fiveyear contract, which provided for at least $186,000 in wages, bonuses and fringe benefits and an $83,000 signing bonus, will be gone.

Board member Dr. Robert Wilder retired in February and was replaced by Tom Cahalan. Board President Charles Freeman resigned in March and was replaced by Doug Adamczyk.

Board member Bill Grenfell did not seek re-election and his term expires at the end of December. Voters last month elected Robert C. Skidmore to the board.

Robinson said the deadline for applications to fill the two positions is Jan. 3.

In other action Monday, the board discussed plans to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Treasurer Jim Hudson, who was hired as treasurer for Avon Schools. Assistant Treasurer Jackie Pursley will assume the treasurer’s duties while the board considers applicants for interim treasurer.

The board met with two possible candidates to fill the interim position on Saturday, which will be filled on or before Jan. 1.

The board hopes to find a permanent replacement for Hudson within three months. Additionally, the board discussed plans to move out of its offices at 140 W. Washington St. in April to the old Kindergarten Center near the high school, which is already used for office space, storage and the wrestling program.

Renovating the Kindergarten Center will cost $639,000, but board members said the move would pay for itself in a little more than three years. Jon Burkhart, director of business affairs for the district, said the construction estimate was $765,000.

The board now pays more $202,000 a year to lease the offices on West Washington.

Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or areanews@medinagazette. com.