Pictured (l-r) are Lynchburg-Clay School District superintendent Brett Justice, treasurer Richard Hawk and board members Gary West, Bobbie Jo Ernst, Bret Malone, Brad Hess and Kristen Greenawalt. (HCP photo by Caitlin Forsha.)
Pictured (l-r) are Lynchburg-Clay School District superintendent Brett Justice, treasurer Richard Hawk and board members Gary West, Bobbie Jo Ernst, Bret Malone, Brad Hess and Kristen Greenawalt. (HCP photo by Caitlin Forsha.)
What a difference 11 days can make. After approximately two hours in executive session, the Lynchburg-Clay Local School District Board of Education voted Monday, June 1 to rescind two employment decisions from a board meeting held May 21.

Board members moved to “rescind” action from their May 21 meeting in which they voted against renewing the supplemental one-year contracts of athletic director Mark Faust and varsity boys basketball coach Matt Carson. According to the minutes of the May 21 meeting — which were provided to The Highland County Press Tuesday morning — the board gave five nay votes on employing Faust as athletic director and five nay votes on employing Carson as varsity boys basketball coach, both for the 2020-21 school year. 

On June 1, the board president, Gary West, first moved to “rescind the motion from the May 21 meeting, Number 13292-20, regarding Mark Faust as athletic director” and to “recommend to employ Mark Faust as athletic director for the 2020-21 school year.” 

Board member Kristen Greenawalt seconded the motion, which passed, 5-0.

Faust has been the athletic director for over a decade and with the district for 18 years. No reason for the initial nonrenewal was given, and the only cause for his subsequent rehire was West saying it was “based on the information that we have now.”

Greenawalt then moved to “rescind 13293-20, Mr. Carson’s contract.” Bobbie Jo Ernst seconded the motion.

“And to recommend employment, like we did on the other?” treasurer Richard Hawk asked.

“Yes,” Greenawalt said.

The motion passed by a 3-2 vote, with Greenawalt, Ernst and Bret Malone voting yes and West and Brad Hess voting no. There were no reasons given for either vote regarding Carson’s employment.

Carson was hired as the Mustangs’ varsity boys basketball coach in June 2013. His teams have since compiled an overall record of 92-76, including a record of 85-37 in his first five seasons. His tenure at LC also included a trip to the OHSAA Division III State Semifinals, as the Mustangs reached the Final Four in 2016 – one of two trips in school history. That team also earned the most wins in a season in school history, finishing 25-3 that year.

While there was no public discussion of the decisions, Hess did ask Faust a question before entering executive session.

“In the last six months, has there been anything brought to your attention as to what the board has requested changes to be done in your job?” Hess asked.

“No,” Faust said.

At 6:45 p.m., the board voted, 5-0, to enter executive session to discuss personnel. Faust and Lynchburg-Clay High School principal Linda Hatten were invited to join the executive session at approximately 7:22 p.m., and both exited at approximately 8:35 p.m. The board remained in executive session until 8:47 p.m. Neither Faust nor Carson was present for the board’s vote in open session Monday night.

In other action, the board voted, 5-0, to approve “Attachment A” of the minutes of the May 21 board meeting and also discussed new federal funds for the district.

According to Hawk, the Lynchburg-Clay School District is set to receive approximately $208,000 “because of the pandemic.”

“It can be spent according to how I spend any of the other federal monies we currently have, plus added things like social worker, mental health counselor, professional development for anything related to the COVID-19 pandemic that we’ve had issues with,” Hawk said. “It came from the federal government through the state, and I’ve got two years to spend it.”

West asked if the money will “help balance what the state took away” through Governor Mike DeWine’s cuts to education funding for two months.

“Well, that wasn’t the intent, but in our case it will just about even everything out, until next year when they take more away,” Hawk said.

Hawk added that he was seeking the board’s approval Monday because the governor’s office told him that if necessary, they can “use it anytime between March and the end of the year.”

“We do have some additional bills coming from the Wasserman [Youth and Adolescent Center] in Clermont County for four extra kids attending there this year from Lynchburg-Clay,” Hawk said. “I thought if we approve it, I probably will use that money to pay that bill that’s due right now, about $30,000, because we had used all of the contracts and services money on my IDEA B grant for the year.”

Malone asked if Wasserman “continued to charge throughout the end of the year.” Hawk responded that he contacted that center and another school for students with special needs to inquire about invoices from the past several months.

“They said well, we’ve got the same issue you have as a traditional school,” Hawk said.

“Because of their IEP, they’re required to continue the education through June 4 in both cases, so they said ‘you will be billed through June 4 and you’re still required to pay.’ It’s not like we just quit on March 13 whenever schools are shut down.”

With no further questions, the board voted, 5-0, to approve the funding through the CARES Act.