WELLINGTON — Wellington School Board member Ayers Ratliff said he will vote against a five-year contract for the superintendent of the Lorain County Joint Vocational School because he believes it’s a bad deal for taxpayers.
Ratliff is one of 13 members of the JVS board. Unlike other school districts where the public votes for the board, members of the JVS board are appointed by the associate districts: Amherst, Avon, Avon Lake, Columbia, Clearview, Elyria, Firelands, Keystone, Midview, North Ridgeville, Oberlin, Sheffield/Sheffield Lake and Wellington.
The JVS board is expected to vote on the contract at a 6:30 p.m. meeting Thursday at the JVS board office.
Ratliff spoke against the contract and shared the details of it during Wellington’s school board meeting Tuesday.
According to the five-year contract, which would begin next year and go through 2023, Superintendent Glenn Faircloth would receive an annual salary of $130,000 and be eligible for raises every year.
The amount of the raise would be equal to “that granted other administrative staff as a general increase.”
Ratliff said this encourages Faircloth to push for raises for the staff.
“If I was a superintendent I certainly wouldn’t freeze salaries because the bigger the increase is for my co-workers, the more raise I get also,” Ratliff said. “Our (the JVS) board has no control over the raises our superintendent gets in the next five years.”
The contract also gives Faircloth an additional $3,000 per year to cover the cost of educational courses plus $500 for textbooks, supplies and various fees.
The contract stipulates that if Faircloth doesn’t spend the money on educational coursework, it goes into annuity.
This, Ratliff said, dissuades Faircloth from pursuing additional education.
“I find that very discouraging as a taxpayer and as a school board member representing Wellington,” Ratliff said.
Ratliff also said he’s against giving Faircloth a five-year contract because it’s hard to plan that far in advance financially.
“We are saying to these taxpayers, we’re going to put you on the hook for over-a-million-dollar contract,” Ratliff said. “Once you get on the hook for a (five-year) contract, if something happens during that time, you’re going to be paying out to get rid of that person. So that bothers me very much.”
When reached Tuesday night after the Wellington School Board meeting, Faircloth said that Ratliff giving a copy of the proposed contract to The Chronicle-Telegram violated executive session.
Faircloth said his contract does not become a public document until the board votes on it.
JVS Board President Deborah Melda agreed.
“In last month’s meeting we did discuss this in executive session, so I can’t discuss anything further than that,” Melda said. “I’m very disappointed that this was chosen to be discussed at another board meeting before we even voted on the contract.”
However, Melda said the board was supportive of Faircloth’s job performance.
“If you’re asking me if Glenn does a good job, in my opinion, and I can’t speak for Ayers, but the rest of the board is happy with Glenn’s performance. We will vote on the contract Thursday and I will be answering questions there.”
In general, Melda said, the JVS board looks at other districts when preparing a contract for any employee and considers job performance when putting together an offer.
Faircloth also said Ratliff votes against most things on the JVS board and does not like him because he is black and Ratliff is white.
“I think he does have a problem with my skin color,” Faircloth said. “He gave you a document that has not been voted on and has only been seen in executive session. He shouldn’t have been talking about it.”
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