Residents Protest in Supt. Controversy

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MEDINA, Ohio-- Members of the Medina City Schools Board of Education would not allow public comment as they met Tuesday, one day after announcing they had placed Superintendent Dr. Randy Stepp on paid administrative leave.

Approving that decision was the first item on the board's agenda Tuesday.

During the brief meeting, board members also discussed the decision to hire a public relations firm.  That decision was made because board members say they have been overwhelmed by messages and phone calls from the public and media inquiries.

The board and administrators have come under considerable criticism in recent weeks over the salary and benefits offered to Stepp at a time when the district has been making considerable other cuts because of budgetary struggles.

The district is also in the process of asking voters to pass a levy in May.

The decision to place Stepp on leave was made as the board enlists help from the auditor of state to examine money that was spent from an educational service center account.

Board President Dr. Karla Robinson said the leave was not a disciplinary action.

Stepp was told on Monday to surrender his keys, his key cards, and to stay away from school property and school activities until the investigation is completed.

Although the board did not accept public comments during its meeting on Tuesday, a small number of concerned citizens staged a demonstration outside of Medina High School in advance of the meeting.

"Just the fact that one man is getting so much," said Penny Lewis, concerned about cuts to activities and services in the school, "that's wrong, that's just wrong."

Stepp told Fox 8 on Monday that he has done nothing wrong and is not concerned about what the audit will show.

He believes that Board members may have to explain some of their own policies to the community.

Demonstrators believe there is plenty of blame to go around, but want assurance that their money is being wisely spent.

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