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Noon news headlines for April 8, 2013
Medina superintendent on paid leave; 14-year-old charged in New Franklin couple's murder; Proposed changes for Ohio's foster care system

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Medina superintendent on paid leave 
  • 14-year-old charged in New Franklin couple's murder
  • Proposed changes for Ohio's foster care system
  • Medina superintendent on paid leave (See statement below)
    Medina City Schools superintendent has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation into a district fund that he controlled. A press conference is scheduled for 2p.m. regarding Randy Stepp, who has been embroiled in controversy for the last several weeks. The Medina City school board has asked the state to audit a special fund that had been used to pay $265,000 for Stepp’s old student loans and tuition and expenses for his MBA from Case Western Reserve University. The Medina City school board has confirmed that it authorized payments for Stepp’s degrees but has said it didn’t know the amounts. The Medina Gazette has raised additional questions about whether the district may also be on the hook to pay income taxes for Stepp on those payments. And it brought up new questions about other expenses the fund has paid, including $550 a night hotel bills.

    14-year-old charged in New Franklin couple's murder
    A 14-year-old suspected accomplice has pleaded not guilty in the sledgehammer deaths of a prominent Akron-area attorney and his wife. The boy entered the plea today in Akron in Summit County Juvenile Court in the deaths last week of Jeffrey and Margaret Schobert of New Franklin. The boy could face trial as an adult. Eighteen-year-old Shawn Ford Jr. of Akron, who dated the couple's teenage daughter, also has been charged with murder. He's due in court Wednesday. Ford also is charged with stabbing the daughter two weeks ago. A possible motive has emerged. The Akron Beacon Journal says police believe the parents were unhappy with Ford's relationship with their daughter and stopped him from visiting her at the hospital.

    Proposed changes for Ohio's foster care system
    A new report says Ohio should reduce the number of times a child enters and exits the foster care system and give foster parents more input into court proceedings involving the children in their care. The Ohio Foster Care Advisory Group also recommends improving the system governing court-appointed lawyers who look out for foster children's interests. Attorney General Mike DeWine said today some of the changes will involve action by the Ohio Supreme Court and others need new legislation. DeWine's office took testimony at a series of statewide meetings following a rash of deaths among children whom the system failed.

    Weather for Indians opener
    Clouds, some sun, and some periods of rain today. We’ll see increasing temperatures with a high near 70. Scattered showers and storms will arrive in the afternoon and will likely affect the Indians home opener which is set for 4p.m. against the Yankees. 

    Here's the statement from the Medina City School District on the suspension of its superintendent, Randy Stepp:
    The Medina City Schools Board of Education has placed Superintendent Dr. Randy Stepp on paid administrative leave effective today, April 8, 2013 pending further investigation. Dr. Stepp has been instructed to be available if needed to perform specific duties. He has also been instructed to not be on district property or report to the District Office unless granted permission by the Board, except for transporting his children to and from school. Dr. Stepp has been further instructed to not 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 or is specifically instructed to do so by the board. He will continue to receive his regular wages during this time.

    The Board has also instructed Dr. Stepp to turn over school issued keys, swipe card, school credit cards, as well as any other District-owned property in his possession. Dr. Stepp has also been told to refrain from any District-paid professional development or Board-paid travel during this leave.

    This administrative leave is being taken as part of a standard investigatory procedure and is not a disciplinary action or adverse employment action or finding of wrongdoing on his part. 

    The Board of Education will be discussing who will serve as the interim superintendent at their April 9, 2013 work session. As soon as a decision is made all staff will be notified.

    The Board of Education appreciates everyone’s patience and support during this time. If you have questions or concerns we ask that you speak with your building principal or department head. 

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