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.

*

Want to go?

What: Huron school board meeting

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

Where: Shawnee Elementary School cafeteria

*

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.

*

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

Justme...

I am not complaining about the district or the community. I believe we have a lot of great teachers and administrators. And I'm not disgruntled but I was disappointed with the sneaky way those raises were given before the new board got in, after he bragged about the pay freeze, only to get back what he lost, and then some. That's not a freeze, its just a delay in pay you will eventually get. I certainly don't think any of this has anything to do with me. I believe the ODE got it wrong but I also know my opinion is meaningless.

Still Sold

It's not that your opinion is meaningless, JustYou..

The ODE's opinion is the only one that really counts. Impartial. That should mean something. The ODE didn't have a horse in this race.

I do know one thing: There is never a good time for administrator raises. Unless, of course, you are one of them.

I really have no reason to think what you have stated is not true. I am, however, sure that the raises were not done with malice intended.

Silvia

Not being negative at all just stating the truth. As you would say why dont you call up at the BOE and ask Mr Weis for all the documents they are public knowledge.

UgtaBkdnMe

Don't do that !!!!! If you ask for a public record, they leak it to Sold and then he plasters it on the blog. He's got friends in low places !

Still Sold

At this moment, Silvia, JustYOU and even you, 1969..

I didn't bring it up, nor am I really all that interested. All Huron City Schools employees have received raises and the children/students have been educated. Congratulations Huron Wins ! Obviously, no one patted you on the back enough. You feel so slighted.

Soon enough there will only be stories about the Huron Board of Education to post on. See you all there !

Is it Silvia Sowecke ?

sanduskyregiste...

hey still stupid. LISTEN closely the last LEVY passage the teachers took a FREEZE did not get a raise that year!

Still Sold

Oh..
And there will be that one story about the sign that says:
Huron Memorial Stadium..

(It will probably be in the Journal first !)

I really can't wait to see someone new on the HOT SEAT !

Huron_1969

Suggestion.... for your next screen name, try "Sold Out"
It will be the only one you'll ever need

Still Sold

Now 69..
You of all these people know that Sold.. Didn't sell out. No matter what.

And I won't.

But.. I am growing tired of the negativity. If someone would like to take over for me I will Sell you my name and you can call yourself, Sold.

Believe me 1969.. It's all celebration over here. Well, except for the reality of what this all cost. No one could celebrate that.

Still Sold

Nice Sandusky Register pretender..
You know it's people like yourself who decided to go after Fred Fox. What exactly did you, or your kind accomplish besides completely ruining your credibility.

Now old Stupid Still Sold.. That guy predicted exactly what was going to happen.. And because you do not approve of THE RESULTS now it's come to name calling. Funny..

You continue to show your true colors Sowecke.

sanduskyregiste...

simple yes or no. did the teachers take a pay freeze during the last levy? and did fred fox get a raise. all i am asking still?

Still Sold

No SR..
I've continued in the same direction which is that no one is really a winner here.

You can't seem to grasp it.

It's the same direction I've been headed in a year. Maybe you haven't been following along, or maybe it's just too complicated for you to see ?

Simplified: 3 Stooges really screwed up this time. Nice work !

sanduskyregiste...

yes the teachers did take a pay freeze at the last levy passage a few years ago. so you my friend are wrong

Still Sold

No SR..
I never said that it did not happen. I said I can not be sure it happened. Because YOU said it, I have to believe it ?

Forgive me for not giving you an immediate nod as the people you have lined up with belong in a line up.

sanduskyregiste...

would you like me to post that information for you to see, then post the information where the levy passes and fox takes a pay raise. pushed all these threats, then does that sh-t! seriously. cant be trusted!

Still Sold

I think someone else already answered your question: Call the treasurer.

It's really not the issue at the moment, but I for one will be glad to hear the factual information.. Now on to other things..

Did I tell you Fred Fox was exonerated and that now the Huron Board of Education is going to have to answer for their frivelous accusations ?

Change your name to: Lorain Journal and then maybe you'll have the answers, too !

UgtaBkdnMe

Sure, have them call the treasurer so the treasurer can then call you. Way to go, Sold !

TigerDad

But what does any of this have to do with Fred's connection to Gary Majestic?

Still Sold

Please SR.. Post the info !

BTW.. Did you read above that Fred Fox was exonerated ?

Give peace a chance.

sanduskyregiste...

i will get that info for you. and yes i did read that. but he's exhausted trust thru his past actions. dont care what a lawyer thinks. that entire 53 page report has alot of "in my opinons in it" exactly that HIS Opinon! not mine. nor many others.

Still Sold

It's ok, SR.
Never do we all agree with everyone on everything.
I'm entirely with you on that.

At this point 'our' opinions do not count in this issue like the referee's opinion does. But.. When it comes to Fred Fox, or anything else that has to do with the Huron City Schools, all we can do is elect a board of education that reflects our views and our opinions. The other thing we can do is volunteer, or run for the board and get involved.

Obviously the system could use some 'new' leadership !

Justme...

If the community wants this board to continue the fight the community can certainly get this board to continue the fight. In that sense, the opinions of the community are more important than the referee.

sanduskyregiste...

does that referee vote for Board members or levies? dont think he does! our opinions hold a higher value!

Still Sold

While I'm philosofically in agreement with both SR and JustMe..
We 'invited' this referee into our business.

And now his opinion counts.

sanduskyregiste...

don't think for a second you'd be walking this same path of IN HIS OPINION A termination was necessary!

UgtaBkdnMe

Only if 3 of the 5 board members agree that it counts. It's nonbinding, remember ?

Tsu Dho Nimh

Not my opinion, either.

3M TA3

I still think Mr McN owes Fred a beating.

Tsu Dho Nimh

True!

partyboy

3M-I agree, bet Murray won't get him out of that one. You accept certain risks when you behave that way and a trip to the woodshed is sometimes the end result.

Pages