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Ohio superintendent’s pay raises eyebrows

– The president of the Medina school board in northeast Ohio resigned as the district deals with questions about spending and the superintendent’s compensation, which included about $265,000 for his college education bills.

The local teachers union criticized the Medina board’s oversight and superintendent Randy Stepp’s handling of the fund that supplied the payments for his education, The Medina Gazette reported. Board members have said they didn’t realize the total was so high.

Board President Charles Freeman resigned Tuesday, calling the controversy a distraction from focusing on students.

“It is my sincere hope that with new leadership, the board, union, teachers, administrators and community can again come together and place our collective focus where it belongs: on the kids,” he wrote in a letter to the board.

John Leatherman, president of the Medina City Teachers Association, told the newspaper Freeman’s resignation “is probably the start of what needs to happen for the community and the district to heal.”

Board members were expected to talk about a plan to improve spending oversight Wednesday night in Medina, about 30 miles southwest of Cleveland.

The board had encouraged Stepp’s pursuit of a master’s in business administration from Case Western Reserve University, which cost $93,000. Stepp, who had a master’s and doctorate, also had $172,000 in college loans that were covered by the district under a 2011 modification of his contract.