Huron schools superintendent at center of investigation

(Updated with audio from school board meeting) It's a fiasco.
Jessica Cuffman
May 25, 2012

(Updated with audio from school board meeting) It’s a fiasco.

So says Huron Schools superintendent Fred Fox’s attorney, and one of the school board members who adamantly opposed a vote to send an investigation into allegations made against Fox to a higher authority for review.

After a four-hour closed doors session Tuesday night, board members voted 3-2 to forward the investigation to the Ohio Ethics Commission.

No one has disclosed what the allegations entail, but they were serious enough to spur the board into hiring a law firm to sort out the facts of the matter.

Fox’s attorney, Larry Vuillemin, characterized the investigation as a fishing expedition. 

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's Register.


concerned huron...

What do you mean by all interest lost in this issue?  You, others?  Does anyone even attend school board meetings?  There is one next Tuesday.  It doesn't do any good to make comments in the Sandusky register telling Huronites to wake up and get rid of the board without actually giving them an option or a means to do so, and most probably don't read the comments any way.  In order to choose better board members, people actually have to run for board, and from what I remember last year, only a few did and not much to pick from.  A grassroots effort is needed.

Sold On Fox 2

After watching days go by with no constructive input on this issue, I actually posted 'all interest lost' before even seeing your post. My apologies. There's 2 of us posting here with interest ? (Actually there are a few more on here, but this forum lacks the stage it takes to make anything happen).

Grassroots is exactly what is needed and exactly what some on here have attempted to inspire.

You obviously read the comments. And.. You obviously decided to do something.

Few 'good unbiased' people have the time or energy to become a board of ed member. The ones who do make it are there for a reason and we, the public, can only hope that reason is constructive and based on better schools for students / school employees / taxpayers.

The facts are we got what we got with this Board of Ed. And you have offered some constructive input as to how to change it. Better late than never !

What is going to happen now is definately evolution and the problem is that it is almost certainly NOT going to be positive.

I hope a lot of people/taxpayers show up for the meeting on Tuesday, but my experiance has been that people complain privately.. It takes quite a situation, like canceling football, to get people to act.

My message is to go Tuesday. My message is to not just sit there and let it happen.

Because I didn't mention the meeting you are going to judge me ? If you read some posts back, especially by Donutshopwannabe, you will find that we, (yes, we), are in contact with the Ohio Ethics Committee. What you won't find is that I am in contact with several news sources and am attempting to get them to look more closely into what is actually going on here.

I'm personally glad to see your input and from 2 posts I have formed an opinion that you are a person of action and will probably see you at the board meeting.

concerned huron...

Sorry if it came across as giving you a hard time or attacking you.  As far as school board meetings go, I have not attended any yet, but do look at meeting minutes and many of them say no public participation, and honestly do not know if that means no one showed up or no one had any comments.  I have read the comments here, and prior to the fiasco have wanted to somehow get involved to promote change, but unsure how, but know that a group is more effective than an individual.   Check your email.

Sold On Fox 2

It's ok Concerned..
That wasn't an attack. Run for public office and you will see attacks.

I urge you to attend the Tuesday meeting and if you really plan on running for the board, go to every meeting. They will eventually let you freely join conversations because they are usually there alone and appreciate the input !

Change happens all of the time in schools and is fueled by volunteers. There are several parent organizations that are available to you.

A few years ago the Huron City Schools went through 'Strategic Planning'.. Wonder where that plan is now ?

Nothing in my email, but will continue to check..



Can you elaborate on the Sowecke/Hometown News issue.  Just do it in a manner that would not be edited off this site.  I need to understand this better as I continually hear bits on the street.  Just state the facts please.  Thanks much!

All - get ready because Tuesday's meeting will be wild again.  It's my understanding that the Register has requested much, much Public Records over the last three weeks.  So I'm sure that after the meeting on Tuesday night there will be new, fesh information.  You have to also know that Tim will bring some off the wall stuff, that's a given.




concerned huron...
1. Could a complaint be filed against Sowecke with the Ohio Ethics Commission due to his rumored hidden agenda and violating Ohio School Board Code of Ethics?   2.  Would it be possible to recall Sowecke? Sowecke's theme for running for school board was he "didn't want Washington's problems to become Huron's problems. What does that even mean? What about the education of our kids?   I have serious concerns about the education of our kids and would like to run for school board but fear that it is a popularity contest rather than voters actually caring about the intentions of the candidates. If you really want change, we need a grassroots effort, find people that actually know something and care about educating kids, and create some sort of group. If Sowecke were recalled, would Mr. Fox stay or would it be too late?


 The below info I copied and pasted from so sorry about formatting issues:

Ohio does not have a statute that permits voters to recall elected public officials. Instead it has a series of statutes (Ohio Revised Code (RC) Sections 3.07-3.10) that permit the removal from office of a public official for misconduct in office. RC 3.07 specifically provides that a public official, including a school board member “… who willfully and flagrantly exercises authority not authorized by law, refuses or willfully neglects to enforce the law or to perform any official duty imposed upon him by law, or is guilty of gross neglect of duty, gross immorality, drunkenness, misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance is guilty of misconduct in office.”

RC 3.08 provides the procedure to initiate removal of a public official. It requires that petitions specifically setting forth the charge must be signed by qualified electors residing in the school district totaling 15% of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent election. If that number of signatures is obtained on petitions, the petitions are then filed in the court of common pleas. After notice to the public officials against whom the charges are filed, a hearing is held before the judge (or in some cases a jury) and the judge renders a decision as to whether the charges have been proved and whether they warrant removal of the individuals from public office.


The board is ultimately accountable to citizens for the way schools are governed and managed, as well as for the results achieved. Although policy development is a major function of boards of education, ironically, board members often find that little time is devoted to the important job of crafting policy. One factor that makes effective policymaking difficult is the urge by some board members, or any other individuals or groups attempting to influence them, to become involved in the minutia of administration. The district suffers when board members try to manage schools or promote their political interests or the interests of certain groups.

Sold On Fox 2

Concerned Huron-
I don't have much time today to even go over what you have presented, but I have to admire what I just quickly skimmed over.

The main problem being if 2000 people voted for Soweke we would need at least 500 signatures to reach the goal of 15%, (people don't always tell the truth about voting.. privacy issues, etc.. but in order to get 15% you have to collect a 'few' more)

If the news EVER breaks, (Hello Register !), that Soweke actually did break the law, getting 500 signatures should not be too hard.

I'm going to spend some time reading your post, but at this time I just want to thank you for being a concerned citizen ! (Huron students, Huron school employees and Huron taxpayers should all be thanking you !)

concerned huron...

Why depend on the Register to break the news?  Why not get together and form some sort of group?  I am a Huron outsider, chances are if I ran for school board, I would not be elected even though I have very specific concerns and agenda for improving the education of students, particularly the lower elementary kids.  Unfortunately, most people don't pay any attention to the school board and electing members unless they have a specific issue with the school.

Sold On Fox 2

Why depend on the Register to break the news ? 
(Not waiting.. Attempting to issue them 'press reports' rather than letting them sit back and let it happen)

Why not get together and form some sort of group? 
(Other groups have been formed in the past and have been effective. This group has to be made up of people who can speak without fear of cosequences. A small group of about 5 respected Huron residents would be listened to.. Wait.. that sounds like a school board).

I am a Huron outsider, chances are if I ran for school board, I would not be elected even though I have very specific concerns and agenda for improving the education of students, particularly the lower elementary kids. 
(You have a lot of the qualities it takes to be a school board member. You obviously care about kids. The Huron system is actually 'better' than most, but still needs improvement. If that is your agenda I say go for it ! Start now. Get your name heard at meetings. Volunteer in the schools. Become a part of the system and the voters will come.)
Unfortunately, most people don't pay any attention to the school board and electing members unless they have a specific issue with the school.
(Exactly ! But.. I believe people want the best school system even if they don't have kids in it. When things go well.. they are smooth and you never hear anything. At this point I just don't think the Huron community knows what a dilemma this board of ed has put them in. It's not affecting them.. YET !

You have a lot to offer to our community. I am glad you are concerned ! Let's do something.