CLAYTON -- A new contract for Dr. Matthew Alexander Jr., Superintendent of Education with the Barbour County School System, was approved with a majority vote during a special called Board of Education meeting that was held on Friday, May 24.
The three affirmative votes for the contract came from board members Shirley Johnson, Jacqueline Davis and Ruby Jackson. The lone opposing vote came from Jimmie Fryer. Board member Johnnie Helms was absent from the meeting.
Opposition for the contract from Fryer came on the grounds that the contract was not received by board members in a timely manner so that each could look at the item before being asked to vote on it during the special called meeting and the wording of one of the items in Section 7 of the new contract.
Section 7 of the Superintendent’s new contract, which pertains to being discharged, states, “Throughout the term of this contract the Superintendent may be discharged by unanimous vote of the Board, if he materially breaches any provision of this contract or performs any act which substantially inhibit his ability to discharge his duties as Superintendent, including but not limited to (a) immorality, (b) misconduct in office, (c) insubordination, (d) incompetence, (e) willful neglect of duty or (f) whenever, in the opinion of the Board, the best interest of the school district requires it. The Board shall not act arbitrarily or capriciously in calling for the discharge of the Superintendent and under no circumstances shall a discharge be effective unless the Superintendent has been given a specific statement of the cause of causes for discharge in writing and due notice of an opportunity for a hearing before the Board.”
A statement from Fryer following the meeting called into question the “discharged by unanimous vote of the Board” wording of the contract. “It should have read, majority vote of the board,” he commented.
When asked about his decision to stay with the county school system, Alexander refused to comment regarding his decision to continue to serve the Barbour County School System. He later sent via email the following statement. “The contract proposal and approval for five years, with one additional year for the next four years, including the requirement for a unanimous vote to terminate and a unanimous vote not to extend contract for one additional year for the next four years was challenging for any school system to match, including Anniston City Schools.
“I have no comment regarding the contract negotiations for either Anniston City Schools or Barbour County Schools,” Alexander stated in his email. “You would have to contact the Anniston City Board President for any information regarding their next steps.”
An email from the board president of the Anniston City School Board of Education, Robert L. Houston garnered almost the same response that was received from Alexander. Houston replied, “The contract proposal and approval for five years, with one additional year for the next four years, including the requirement for a unanimous vote to terminate and a unanimous vote not to extend contract for one additional year for the next four years was challenging for any school system to match, including Anniston City Schools.
“After understanding Dr. Alexander’s intentions to remain with the Barbour County School System the Anniston School Board of Education executed its contingency plan. We reached out to another qualified candidate with an offer and received an acceptance.
I have no comment regarding the contract negotiations for either Anniston City Schools or Barbour County Schools,” Houston concluded.
The new Superintendent’s contract will begin July 1, 2019, and continue through June 30, 2024, with a salary of $120,000 annually with the board retaining the right to adjust the Superintendent’s annual salary upward during the term of the contract. If during the time the Alexander serves as superintendent for the county school, certified teachers receive a pay raise during the term of his contract, Alexander will also receive a pay raise in the same percentage amount as the certified teachers.