Education

Public blasts Granville school leaders over pay raises, contracts

Posted June 3

Jeffrey Grigg, of Oxford, speaks at the Granville County school board meeting on June 2, 2014.

— Community members packed the Granville County Board of Education meeting Monday night to voice their frustration with school leaders' pay raises and contracts, with some calling for the leaders to resign, apologize or give the money back. 

After the public comments, board members met in closed session to discuss personnel issues for more than three hours. They emerged around midnight and said they plan to continue their closed session meeting on June 11.

The public's frustration stems from an audit released May 16 that cites problems with how the district handled contracts for school leaders, including the superintendent and associate superintendent. 

"Most board members expressed that they were surprised to learn the details" of the contracts, according to Jill Wilson, an attorney with Brooks Pierce in Greensboro, who was hired by the school board to do the audit.

Superintendent plaque North Carolina superintendents' contracts

Wilson found that the board "did not always take formal action" to approve, amend or extend contracts of some administrators.

"The board chair believed he and counsel for the board were authorized to not only engage in negotiations with senior staff, but to enter into contracts on behalf of the board of education without any formal action of the board whatsoever," she wrote.

The audit found that Superintendent Tim Farley "is the second highest paid superintendent in the state with less than 25,000 students."

It also found that, from 2007 to now, Associate Superintendent Allan Jordan's total compensation "changed from just over $92,000 to almost $172,000, which was applied retroactively beginning Jan. 1, 2012, through the present, with only $1,800 of that increase actually resulting from board action."

Several community members blasted school leaders at Monday night's meeting, saying they shouldn't have received pay raises and other benefits during tight financial times for the school system.

"We need to do whatever we can do to get this administration out of here. A change must come," community member Clarence Dale said, as people in the audience clapped and shouted in agreement.

Bullock resident Susan Hiscocks told the board she wished she had the resources "to bring these contracts to the local superior court to challenge them and overturn them."

"Everything needs to be brought out to the light," she said.

Oxford resident Jeffrey Grigg fought back tears as he demanded to know the truth from school leaders.

"These actions, if true, bring a disgrace to this community," he said. "If it's true, then shame on you."

Superintendent Farley declined to speak with WRAL News on Monday night. Instead, he released a statement saying that "it is important for this community to know that its superintendent and its board of education operate with integrity."

"Unfortunately, statements in the audit report have been distorted by (media outlets) and those distortions have undermined the confidence of some community members," he wrote. "My contract extensions in 2013 were voted on by the board in open meetings and all of my contracts and contract extensions during the entire time I've been employed with Granville County Schools have been signed by two board members."

Associate Superintendent Jordan was not at Monday's meeting, but his lawyer spoke with WRAL News recently. Attorney Ellis Boyle said his client doesn't think there was anything inappropriate in the contracts. 

Monday's meeting marked the second time in recent weeks that the board has met in closed session to discuss personnel issues. The board met privately on May 16 for nearly three hours to discuss the audit and craft a public statement. Reporters and members of the public waited outside the board room and could hear yelling and raised voices coming from the meeting room several times.

When the public was allowed back inside, the board's new interim attorney, Nick Sojka, read a prepared statement and said the board's current attorney, Jim Cross, who helped handle the contracts, was no longer welcome at board meetings.

"The board anticipates additional meetings and actions on an expedited basis in order to address matters identified in the report released tonight," Sojka said, declining to give more details about what those actions could be.

46 Comments

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  • johnrmccray Jun 3, 8:00 a.m.

    Criminal

  • JustaThought2 Jun 3, 8:08 a.m.

    From the Webster Dictionary: "Integrity - the quality of being honest and fair" The superintendent should have consulted with an English teacher before releasing his statement. Here is another word he needs to look up; "narcissist". Farley is done in Granville County. The sooner he goes, the better off everyone will be. If he had any integrity, he would apologize and resign immediately along with the rest of the Board of Education. The speaker at the meeting had it right when he said, "Shame on you!"

  • freedomrings Jun 3, 8:10 a.m.

    We live in Granville County. This is why we're home schooling our son. I've heard too many stories of drugs in school without discipline, extreme permissiveness by the teachers, and too many parents not being involved ( not all, mind you ). They hand a 14 year old a laptop for 4 years without many restrictions. It's shocking how many spend their day on social media sites on their school laptop rather than doing homework. Not to mention the elementary school students with I-Phones exposing other children to things on it that most of us have to click an "I'm 18" button to see. I'm not surprised by the pay issues, this county's school system does not prioritize its children. And this county has some socio-economic issues not unique to rural areas, ie there's a pill and meth problem in this area. There's one excellent program in place that allows selected children to earn an associate's degree by the time they graduate high school, we need more of this.

  • HomeBrewDude Jun 3, 8:22 a.m.

    Granville County needs to be able to attract quality teachers. The calibre of students that come out of that economically depressed area need to be able to compete. It's a largely blue collar region and if they want to better their area, they have to have educated people come back and stimulate that economy. The below about kids having laptops is normal. We are in a global economy. Shelter your kids and they are the ones that flunk out of first year of college because they finally have freedom. We've all seen this too many times.

  • vile garbage Jun 3, 8:24 a.m.

    Oxford community leaders, have always done everything by the letter of the law, with the upmost integrity. I can't believe anyone would question anything that goes on in that county at all.. SIKE! Most corrupt place I've ever been associated with, and that's saying something.

  • Minarchist Jun 3, 8:26 a.m.

    We live in Granville County. This is why we're home schooling our son. I've heard too many... View More

    — Posted by freedomrings

    Good for you. The most shocking part to me is just that. Parents STILL put their kids in public schools. If YOU cant teach them dont have them.

  • jackaroe123 Jun 3, 8:29 a.m.

    freedomrings, as a veteran classroom teacher myself, I am skeptical about some of what you say, and can rationalize some of the rest. For every degree removed from the classroom a person is, I find his or her view gets more and more distorted. This is visible even in administrators only a year or 3 removed from classroom teaching, so w/ all due respect, parents who homeschool are several degrees further removed.

    You have every right to homeschool your children and you don't have to justify it. If you choose to justify it and your criticism is compromised by a personal perspective, you should expect some brushback from those you're criticizing.

  • andreanicole686 Jun 3, 8:33 a.m.

    It amazes me that so many people in Granville County come out for this yet they never come out to support teachers and the school system when they need their help. Good job

  • scubagirl2 Jun 3, 8:51 a.m.

    I have no stake in this but these 'school leaders' {hahahaha} need to go AFTER giving back quite a big sum of money.

  • eddybal Jun 3, 9:08 a.m.

    That is why yo need a system of check and balances everywhere.

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