PITTSFIELD TWP. — A new contract for Lorain County Joint Vocational School Superintendent Glenn Faircloth was approved Thursday by the JVS Board of Education.
The board voted 12-1 to approve the contract with member Ayers Ratliff, who represents Wellington Schools, casting the lone no vote.
Under the five-year contract, which would begin next year and go through 2023, Faircloth will 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.”
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.
Ratliff had taken issue with the contract Wednesday at a Wellington school board meeting where he released contractual details before the JVS board had voted on it. Faircloth then told a reporter the contract shouldn’t have been released because it had only been seen in executive session and it is not a public document until it is voted on. Faircloth also told the reporter he believes Ratliff, who is white, has a problem with him because he’s black.
At Thursday’s JVS board meeting, Ratliff denied the accusations.
“I would file an EEOC complaint, and I beg you to do that, because your complaint and statement in the paper has no basis,” he said. “To me, that puts that back in my face and tells me that you are a dangerous man.”
Faircloth did not respond to Ayers during the meeting. Instead, Faircloth said after the meeting that he wants to focus on the strides the district is making, and if there is a race issue, it is a matter for the board to handle.
“What I’m going to focus on is to work,” he said. “That’s what this board hired me to do.”
Ratliff defended releasing the contract details prior to the board’s vote and said the public has a right to know about such details prior to a vote. He said there is no penalty under the open records act for revealing what was discussed in executive session, and he chastised board members who might believe otherwise.
“When you put Dr. Faircloth’s contract out as an agenda item, the public has a right to go in and say, ‘Let me see a copy of what they’re going to vote on tonight,’” Ratliff said. “The paper says, according to Dr. Faircloth, the public can’t see it until after we approve it. Now how stupid is that?”
Ratliff said the JVS obligated more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars toward the five year contract and there is no way out unless Faircloth gets another job or resigns.
“We are on the hook for this million-dollar contract,” he said.
Ratliff also said placing the money Faircloth doesn’t receive for educational courses into annuity is unfair to residents and not honorable.
“That’s like telling one of our teachers, ‘We’re going to give you $2,000 to buy materials for your room, but if you don’t need anything, just put it in your pocket,’” Ratliff said. “That’s not helping our school, people.”
Ratliff also accused Faircloth of plagiarism in his dissertation for his doctorate, a claim Faircloth denied, and he questioned whether his fellow board members actually read the new contract prior to voting. All board members said they had received it and read it, and board member Rex Engle, who represents Amherst Schools, said the superintendent before Faircloth made more money than Faircloth makes.
Other board members including Deborah Melda, who represents Keystone Schools, Gary Wilson, who represents Midview Schools and Steve Ali, who represents North Ridgeville Schools, said they think highly of Faircloth, and they approved the contract because he has been doing a great job leading the school.
Under Faircloth’s leadership, the school was able to pass a levy that generates $3.8 million after two failed attempts.
Under his leadership, operating expenses have also declined. According to information provided by the JVS, prior to Faircloth’s tenure, yearly expenditures were $20.3 million, and since becoming superintendent four years ago, that number has been reduced to $18.1 million, which equates to savings of more than $8 million.
With the $8 million in savings the JVS launched construction projects without having to ask taxpayers for additional money. These projects included a new roof in 2014, a generator, PA and security project in 2015, a second-floor ninth and 10th grade construction project in 2016 and a lower level Allied health wing project this year that is under construction.
But Faircloth said his fondest accomplishment is being the only school in the county where all students have iPad mini devices.
“Those students, when they graduate, they get to take those devices with them,” he said. “It may be a little dated, but depending on what you need it for, it still serves a valuable purpose for them.”