UPDATE: State referee says Fred Fox should be reinstated with full pay

Read the referee's report here from a state department of education hearing officer who delivered a 53-page report this morning that appears to exonerate fired Huron Schools superintendent Fred Fox.
Alissa Widman Neese
Mar 11, 2013

Click here to read the referee's report.

The Huron school board wrongfully fired superintendent Fred Fox, according to an Ohio Department of Education hearing officer.

Board members received a report Monday recommending they reinstate Fox with full back pay, a move that could cost the district $100,000 or more if approved.

School officials refused to release the report, contending it was not a public record, but Fox's attorney, Patrick Murray, provided the Register a copy.

In the 53-page report, state hearing officer Harry Taich said the school board failed to provide "substantial, reliable and probative evidence" to terminate Fox last year.

"In my opinion, after hearing all of the testimony in this matter, it was quite apparent to this referee that personal feelings appeared to replace sound judgment," Taich stated in the report.

In June, the board voted 3-2 to fire Fox for his alleged misdeeds, including an improper business relationship with a district vendor, improperly seeking reimbursements for a trip to Arizona and an extramarital affair on school time.

The board contended the behavior was detrimental to Huron Schools, but Taich said this wasn't the case.

"The district failed to establish by credible evidence that Mr. Fox's inappropriate relationship with the other school district principal hampered his effectiveness as a superintendent," the report stated. "On the contrary, the overwhelming evidence did establish that the district has thrived under his leadership."

The board is expected to take action on Fox's termination at its monthly meeting next week. An executive session to review the state's recommendation is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, with no action planned until the regular board meeting three days later.

Board members Kevin Asher and John Caporini, who voted against Fox's firing, said at last month's meeting they would vote in favor of the state's recommendation — no matter what it said.

After reading Taich's report, Asher said he hopes the entire board will do the same and "move on." He encouraged community members to attend Tuesday's meeting to voice their opinions on the matter.

"We have budget issues, negotiations with our classified staff union and more important things to be worrying about than this nonsense," Asher said. "This has taken a year away from us doing the job we were elected to do. We need to get back to the business of this school."

Board president Scott Slocum and board member Tim Sowecke did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

Register reporter Jessica Cuffman contributed to this story.

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Want to go?

What: Huron school board meeting

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19

Where: Shawnee Elementary School cafeteria

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Fox timeline

•February 2012 — Board meets with attorney Matt Markling to discuss allegations made against superintendent Fred Fox, including an improper business relationship with a district vendor, improperly sought reimbursements for a trip to Arizona and an extramarital affair on school time.

•May — Markling delivers 50-page report to board.

•June 19 — Board suspends Fred Fox and votes to start termination proceedings against him.

•June 20 — Markling report is released as a public record.

•June 28 — Board member Kevin Asher files lawsuit to keep board from paying Markling bill.

•Sept. 6 — Fox's attorney, Patrick Murray, answers 23 allegations against Fox that the board says warrants his termination.

•Sept. 12 — Fox files a lawsuit against board member Tim Sowecke, alleging defamation and libel and demanding more than $2.5 million in damages.

•January 2013 — Fox's closed-door termination hearings end.

•Feb. 13 — Asher's lawsuit is dismissed.

•Feb. 18 — Board approves paying full amount of $90,000 Markling bill.

•March 11 — Ohio Department of Education's hearing officer recommends reinstating Fox with full back pay.

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Click here for the ePaper or buy a Register at a newsstand near you to learn what's next for Fred Fox and the Huron school board. Check back here at sanduskyregister.com for updates as they become available. 

Comments

whazup

Does the name rhyme with "annoy"? LOL

Julie R.

Toolgate, busgate, ticketgate, signgate, affairsgate, crimes against the elderly, forged power of attorneys, forged wills, theft of their properties, etc., etc., etc. Lord Almighty, like the Eeerie County courthouse, I'm surprised the roof of the Huron Catholic church doesn't fall in when some of those hypocrites go walking through the door!

Informed

Eastside, I'll tell you why the legal fees since Fox has been superintendent are so high. Because he has violated the teachers' contract on numerous occasions, they have filed grievances, and most of the time have won them.

Julie R.

So who at the school had the authority to sign off on the title to a Huron school bus that was sold for a measly $1 and who has the title to the bus? Stands to reason, the person who OBTAINED the bus would have the title.

On the other hand, when the Erie County common pleas court forced property in Huron that was fraudulently transferred seven months before the 1st owner's death to be sold at a sheriff sale, the realtor that OBTAINED it claimed he was never given the title to the property. He claimed all he was given was a sheriff sale deed. Considering how sheriff sale deeds are only given out on property sold through foreclosure ~ and THAT property sure wasn't sold through foreclosure ~ one might have to wonder why a realtor of all people would not have questioned the Erie County common pleas court and the sheriff's department about that.

Julie R.

Personally, I could care less about some stupid old Huron school bus. Neither do I care about tools stolen at the Huron bus garage. Once again, at least the stolen tools were put back where they belonged.

On the flip side of the coin, I'm still waiting for those two Bonnie & Clyde idiots from Huron, Ohio and those two Bonnie & Clyde judges at the Erie County courthouse to put that fraudulently transferred Huron property back into the correct owner's probate estate!

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