Superintendent’s financial practices may sink district’s tax proposal

Apr 10, 2013 by

MEDINA, Ohio – Medina City school officials are asking residents to approve a new school tax in the upcoming May election, but a possible financial scandal involving the district superintendent may end up sinking their request.

Medina City Schools Superintendent Randy Stepp was put on paid leave yesterday as state auditors investigate “questionable expenditures for trips and professional development sessions by Stepp from the county fund without the (school) board’s oversight,” according to Ohio.com.

The investigation comes just a few months after the school board gave Stepp an $83,000 bonus and agreed to reimburse him $265,000 for his college expenses, the news site reports.

Those payouts generated a lot of controversy within the community and forced the school board president to resign his post late last month.

The community’s outrage is only growing amidst questions surrounding Stepp’s financial practices.

Some residents are so angry over the reckless use of school resources that they are refusing to support a property tax hike that Medina school officials say is needed to help replenish the cash-strapped district’s budget.

“I just look at the ($83,000) and wonder what it could have done in the district,” said resident Heather Davis, who plans on voting against the levy proposal.

If the levy is rejected by voters – as it was last November – it could force the local teachers union to make additional wage and benefit concessions to help the district weather the tough financial times.

Ironically, it was an open records request filed by the Medina City Teachers Association that uncovered Stepp’s questionable expenses, Ohio.com reports.

As part of the records request, MCTA President John Leatherman reviewed 800 pages of district expenses with the school district treasurer.

“There’s a lot of things that stand out in that document,” Leatherman said.

Among those questionable expenses is the $4,782.89 Stepp spent for a trip to the National School Boards Association conference in Orlando in 2009, Ohio.com reports.

“The trip was booked at one hotel, but later switched to a luxury hotel where Stepp and his family stayed for four days at about $550 a night,” the news site notes.

In addition to the state audit, Medina County officials are conducting their own investigation.

via Superintendent’s financial practices may sink district’s tax proposal – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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