MEDINA, Ohio - Medina City School Superintendent Dr. Randy Stepp has been placed on administrative leave with pay while auditors dig into some of the district's transactions.
Notice of the action was hand delivered early Monday by School Board President Dr. Karla Robinson who said Stepp was also asked to surrender his keys and his key cards before leaving the school premesis.
"He is to be available as needed," said Robinson in an afternoon news conference, "to not be on district property or to report to the district office unless granted permission by the board except when transporting his children to and from school. He cannot use any school controlled means of communication, attend any school functions or communicate in any manner whatsoever with employees of the district while on administrative leave unless he has prior permission from the board."
Robinson described the board's actions as "standard procedure," explaining that the district is enlisting help from the "auditor of state" to conduct an investigation into financial transactions that relate to the district's educational service center account.
"This leave is being taken as part of a standard investigatory procedure. It is not a disciplinary action, an adverse employee action or a finding of wrongdoing on his part," explained Robinson.
Stepp has been at the center of a growing criticism of the school board's finances since his salary bonuses became an issue last month.
From his home, he told FOX 8 that this has been a stressful time and that he has had to even remove his own children from school because of threats.
He denies ever having done anything wrong with the district's finances. "Everything I have done, I have communicated with the board; so that's why I am shocked," Stepp explained, following the district's announcement.
"They knew very well, when we negotiated contracts; I have shared with them everything that was going into those contracts," added Stepp, who also said that anything he did with that particular account was above board.
"We follow their procedures and guidelines and if there was something that was being done procedurally incorrect, I would have expected that they would have told us to correct the problem," said Stepp adding that the account, just like the district's budget, was always subject to an audit.
Robinson, however, admits that the procedures and guidelines for that particular account have had to be rewritten.
"The problem has been that there have not been enough checks and balances for that account and we have already put standards in place, checks and balances in place to make sure that does not happen," said Robinson.
Robinson said the audit will take a look back over ten years of records.
Stepp said everything he ever did with the district's finances was either a part of his contract, or with the approval of past or present members of the school board.
Although some in the community have openly called for his resignation, Stepp said he will not resign. "I have not done anything wrong. I'm not gong to resign. I negotiated a fair contract with the board and what the board may or may not have done; I have no idea. That is for them to explain to everyone in the community," said Stepp.
The district expects to have the results of the investigation by the end of May.
In the meantime, they will meet over the next few days to name an interim superintendent.