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JVS cuts two jobs to reduce budget


PITTSFIELD TWP. — Serious reorganization is going on at the Lorain County Joint Vocational School with the school board laying off its director of academic services and its director of business services/human resources earlier this week.

Letters informing Cathy Pugh and Susanna Merlone of the reduction in force were hand-delivered after an 8-1 vote at a special meeting Monday night.

They surrendered their keys Tuesday morning and both requested a copy of their personnel files.

Later Tuesday, school officials learned that a levy renewal for JVS had passed after two defeats of earlier levies that would have increased taxpayer support for the school.

Superintendent Glenn Faircloth said he recommended a reorganization that will involve some shifting of duties and the hiring of a deputy superintendent to address a budget shortfall in coming years.

No salary range for the deputy superintendent has been set. The school board will take up the matter at its 6:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday.

Faircloth said he wanted to do that hiring “quickly,” and said “I would love to have someone from within.”

School Board President Kathryn Karpus said Faircloth recommended the reorganization.

A review of the personnel files of Pugh and Merlone show no problems, and each was awarded a new contract earlier this year.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, both Pugh and Merlone had mostly 5s.

Pugh received a 2, meaning “improvement needed,” on whether she gave full consideration to majority and minority opinions.

Merlone received a 3, meaning “acceptable,” on whether she works effectively with others.

Pugh, who once served as assistant superintendent at JVS, retired several years ago and was rehired as director of academic services, earning $91,806.

Merlone, former coordinator of financial systems and budgets for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, was hired Aug. 18, 2011, and earned $87,486.

While both had new contracts, Ohio law allowed the school board to make the cuts to deal with financial shortfalls and reorganization, JVS Treasurer Cory Thompson said.

The board also voted for a reduction in force affecting switchboard operator and administrative assistant Cheryl Price, effective Dec. 1, to allow her the chance for “bumping rights” for another position as she is a classified employee, Thompson said. She has been with the district since 1986 and earns $53,769 a year.

The overall hours for a fourth employee, Melissa Valenti, administrative assistant to special education and an EMIS coordinator, were cut, and she will earn $40,555 annually instead of $51,688, Thompson said.

Thompson said the reductions save $244,194 annually but the as-yet-undetermined salary of the deputy superintendent will affect that number when hired.

Faircloth said he had no personnel problems with any of those affected.

Faircloth was hired in July under a three-year contract that will pay him $116,000 annually.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or

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