by Eric Sandy
This could almost be a regular feature here in Northeast Ohio: the heinous egos heading up public school districts around the region. We’ve run long investigations on some of them, but it’s time yet again to look into the dastardly deeds committed “for the children.”
In Richmond Heights, Superintendent Robert Moore II was placed on paid leave by the school board this week. The move was inevitable after Moore was indicted for bribery, theft in office and extortion. Grounds Director Richard Muse joined him in the indictment papers. The duo was accepting cash from a retired school teacher who was running a private daycare in one of the district’s buildings. According to the affidavit, Moore had ordered her to begin paying him cash directly, as to bypass the middle man and, um, the laws.
And now he’s on paid leave.
During the Monday night meeting where Moore’s vacation was announced, other school officials dovetailed the conversation into how bleak the district’s budget books are beginning to look. In short, the schools are eyeing an impending deficit, according to the latest forecasts.
And remember Randy Stepp, the grim former superintendent of Medina City Schools? Well, he’s slunk off to his upper-class cul-de-sac for the time being, but the school board is still mopping up his mess (or, in some cases, acquiescing to it).
It came to light recently that the district now owes the IRS more than $60,000 in unpaid taxes. Much of that cashola comes from the board’s odd decision to pay off Stepp’s student loans (to the tune of $172,000) from the 1990s onward. “When the IRS says you pay, you pay,” board member Tom Cahalan was quoted by local media as saying. Alternatively, when the dictatorial superintendent says you pay off the loans that funded his formative days at Ashland University, you pay.