June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Medina School Board: There’s no rush to replace Stepp

Nancy Johnson and David Knox | The Gazette

Medina Schools has been without a permanent superintendent since Randy Stepp was suspended exactly a year ago today.

But school board President Tom Cahalan said the district is in no hurry to find a replacement because it is happy with the work of interim Superintendent Dave Knight.

“It’s not a secret we’re thinking of keeping David Knight from retirement a little longer,” Cahalan said at Monday’s board meeting. “We are clearly considering putting off the search for a superintendent.

David Chambers is welcomed to Medina  as school treasurer on Monday. (NANCY JOHNSON / GAZETTE)

David Chambers is welcomed to Medina as school treasurer on Monday. (NANCY JOHNSON / GAZETTE)

“You’ll be seeing a notice soon and we’ll move forward with that.”

Knight, a retired Sidney Fenn Elementary School principal, was hired April 23, 2013, and was expected to serve only until completion of a special state audit of Stepp’s spending.

The school board moved to fire Stepp in October after the special audit revealed $4,121 in illegal spending as well as $1.5 million that either was not properly documented or had an “unclear” purpose.

Stepp is contesting the special audit in a lawsuit he filed against state Auditor Dave Yost in November. He also has sued to reinstate a new five-year contract the board approved in January 2013 but rescinded three months later, saying it was voted on without proper publicity in violation of Ohio’s open meetings law.

Also Monday, the school board welcomed its new treasurer, David Chambers.

Chambers, who left a post at Fremont Schools to accept the position, said he was happy to be aboard.

“About four years ago, I left Medina because I was driving an hour and a half to work,” he said. “Now I’m looking forward to bringing my family back to Medina.

“I believe this is where I was meant to be.”

In other action Monday:

• Student representative Andrew Shea tendered his resignation with just one month to go on his two-year term.

Shea’s decision to leave early was a protest to the board’s decision to delay filling the student representative position for about six months.

“This would be a logical term-ending point for me.” Shea said, “I’ve been better educated than any other student by being on the board. Another student should be sitting here and getting the education I’ve had.”

Board Vice President Douglas Adamczyk said the board should wait before bringing on a new student.

“It’s not that we don’t want to move forward; we don’t have the position defined or the processes in place,” he said. “It always makes more sense to define the position before you start interviewing.”

Knight told Shea his work as a student representative was appreciated and urged him to stay on.

“I don’t want you in any way to interpret that putting the student board member search on hold is a reflection on your work.

“What you’ve done is outstanding and it was very difficult work. I’d like you to finish out your term.”

Cahalan also recommended that Shea stay until the end of his term, adding, “But it’s your call.”

• The board approved an agreement between the Medina County Juvenile Court and Medina Schools to provide the district with grant funding to implement the CARE Team programs at Claggett and Root middle schools for the 2013-14 school year.

The grant of $16,000 is given by the state to the court, which in turn provides the grant to the schools.

Contact reporter Nancy Johnson at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com. Contact David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.

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The Gazette is Medina County's daily local news source, serving the community since 1832. Contact The Gazette's news department at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com.