School board wrestles ghost of Fred Fox

Caporini suggests board keep 'eyes open' for potential settlement in legal battles over termination.
Alissa Widman Neese
May 24, 2013

About a month into the Huron Schools legal battle, at least one board member believes a cost-effective compromise could be the best solution.

In an unexpected move Tuesday, board member John Caporini made a motion suggesting the district "seek a global settlement regarding the Fred Fox situation." The item, which board member Kevin Asher seconded, was not listed on the agenda. It was discussed as "other business" at the end of the meeting.

The financial integrity of Huron Schools sparked the motion, Caporini said Thursday.

"We need to move on and try to settle this," he said. "We don't need to go in with blinders on for a fight to the death, because the district will be the one to suffer. We need to keep our mind and eyes open."

Huron Schools is facing the aftermath of firing former superintendent Fred Fox in April. The decision came after more than a year of heated meetings and court proceedings costing the district more than $140,000. Caporini and Asher voted against Fox's firing.

Fox appealed the termination and is suing the three board members who voted to fire him: Donna Green, Tim Sowecke and Scott Slocum. He's seeking more than $175,000, in addition to back pay. Green alleged defamation and promptly filed a counterclaim, suing Fox for more than $25,000.

Caporini ultimately withdrew Tuesday's motion, however, after a lengthy discussion with board members. Just starting a conversation was enough progress for him, he said.

Slocum, the board's president, said Caporini should have first contacted the district's attorneys, and possibly Fox's attorney, before making the motion. Slocum and Sowecke said settlements could already be part of legal discussion. Slocum also said discussions of pending legal matters may be more appropriate for a closed-door meeting.

"I don't know if we're ready to use the word 'settlement' right now," Slocum said. "But we're open to all possibilities to try to move the district forward. I think we're on the same page with that."

As the district's finances continue to spiral downward, Caporini said a resolution can't come soon enough.

Treasurer Mike Weis presented an updated five-year financial forecast Tuesday to board members, projecting Huron Schools is set to spend all its reserve cash by 2015. The district is forecasting a deficit each year, ranging from $1.3 million in the current school year to $5.1 million in the 2016-17 school year. Its budget is about $15 million.

Several variables, including state funding changes, could alter the forecast, Weis said. Regardless, the district must place a new emergency operating levy on the budget within three years, possibly as early as November 2015.

"If we're going to ask taxpayers for help and they see all this turmoil, what do you think their response is going to be?" Caporini said. "I'm not naive. I know it will take time, but we have to at least make an effort to get this thing resolved for the taxpayers of Huron."

In the meantime, the board is in the process of certifying a five-year, 5.9-mill renewal operating levy for the November ballot. The levy generates about $900,000 a year for the district, costing the owner of a $100,000 home about $111, according to the Erie County auditor. If approved, it would not increase taxes from the total amount currently paid, which is about $1,520 each year.

Board president Scott Slocum did not return a phone message Thursday seeking comment.

 

Comments

Retiree

If there is anyone in a business that hold hands more than attorneys and judges tell me who it is. If you think that I am misleading you on what I print,explain. I have no problem naming people but the editors prohibit it. The only ones that are misleading the public are the Fox supports that condone having extra marital affairs. These people are the same ones that have been doing it for years. The people in Huron know exactly who you so called Don Juan's are.

I am hoping that this whole fiasco goes to court, so the truth is exposed. I know that the Fox supporters will never believe the truth. The only thing they believe is their lies. We will soon find out if the statement one of your friends made is true, "if I go down, your going with me". You know who said that, he is your relative. It's the same person who's name is on the sheriff's report and Fred's buddy. I sure hope the prosecution will use the sheriff's report in court.

UgtaBkdnMe

Retire, it looks like "Wald" can't see the "forest" for the trees and neither can T&J. They want to bring other people's past into the conversation when the truth is that they have an axe to Grind with the coach. When it comes to him, they can't think straight, almost like someone wrapped a Rug around their Head too tight. Notice how they don't like comments made about a certain employee who recently got his layoff notice?

Julie R.

"Is there anyone in a business that hold hands more than attorneys and judges tell me who it is."

From what I saw they ALL hold hands in Erie County. Attorneys, judges, prosecutor, auditor, recorder, sheriff, etc. Only one I saw that didn't hold their greasy little palms was the former clerk of court Barb Johnson. (can't say the same for some of her employees, though)

Julie R.

Hey Huronites --- or two, anyway. What was the name of that title company that did the required by law title search prior to that scam court-ordered by Binette sheriff sale? Was it Tri-Star abstract title company?

Retiree

Thanks for your comment. i know who they are. I would like to buy them for what they're worth and sell them for what they think their worth, I would have millions. Did you ever notice that Fred and his group think they are better than everyone else?

Tsu Dho Nimh

Alissa...please report to the readers how Mr. Asher and Mr. Caporini did not attend last night's special meeting. Mr. Caporini wants to seek a settlement option with Fred Fox (his friend) and you write that story. What about his attempt to hinder the district moving forward? I think that is a little bit more important. I would hope Mr. Westerhold would find their lack of cooperation to be news worthy.

Pages