STOW — The more than $12,000 owed to the Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools by the superintendent and by the administrative assistant to the superintendent will be split between the two administrators, and the bulk will paid back over two years by the two forgoing vacation pay over those years.
The school board agreed 3-1 Monday on a settlement agreement and repayment plan between the district, Superintendent Tom Bratten and Franca Padula, administrative assistant to the superintendent, at the board’s meeting. Board Vice President David Licate was not at the meeting; Board Member Jason Whitacre voted no. Whitacre did not comment during the meeting regarding his vote, and could not be reached for comment. The agreement was signed by Bratten, Padula and a representative of the Ohio Attorney General.
Board President Kelly Toppin said the agreement was not atypical.
“I don’t find anything wrong if the money will be repaid to the district,” Toppin said, who noted he had worked for about 5 1/2 years with the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
In April, the state auditor’s office issued a finding for recovery for $12,343 due to unworked overtime paid to Padula between May 6, 2017, through Nov. 24, 2018. Because Bratten approved the time cards, he is jointly responsible for paying the district back for Padula’s overtime pay.
Toppin said in a previous interview that the issue stems from policies enacted by previous superintendent Russ Jones.
Both Bratten and Padula will repay the district $6,171. Bratten’s contract with the district, which runs through July 31, 2023, provides 25 days of paid vacation. He will relinquish six days of vacation for the 2019-20 school year, and five days of vacation in the 2020-21 school year. The remaining amount, about $98, will be deducted from his pay on or before Oct. 1.
Padula, who works under a continuing contract, is given 20 days of vacation. She will relinquish 11 vacation days during the 2019-20 school year, and the 2020-21 school year. The balance, about $189, will be deducted from her pay on or before Oct. 1.
Bratten did not comment during the meeting and could not be reached for comment.
Board member Lisa Johnson-Bowers said that she has “100 percent faith in Bratten.”
“What he has done, nobody else has been able to do for the district,” Johnson-Bowers said. “It is very exciting to start over with a new day.”
One resident voiced her displeasure over the agreement at the meeting, before the vote.
“I find it objectionable that people can take two years in vacation pay to pay back what was willfully and unlawfully extracted from the school district,” said Pamela Wind, a Stow resident and parent.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC