By Othor Cain
Based on district records, Jackson Public Schools paid former Superintendent Cedrick Gray $195,000 at the time he resigned. An itemized list of accounts payable claims provided by the district showed Gray was paid $195,000 between Oct. 22 and Nov. 4.
The school board approved the document at its Nov. 15 meeting. The Mississippi Link received a copy of Gray’s last contract. It was effective July 1, 2015 and was set to expire June 30, 2019. In this contract, Gray earned $205,000 per year with the option of an annual increase of $5,000 based on meeting basic requirements set forth by the board. Additional perks of the contract: Gray was reimbursed up to $1,500 monthly for travel and the district covered his professional membership with educational organizations up to $10,000 with the American Association of School Administrators and the Mississippi Association of School Administrators.
Under Gray’s leadership the Jackson Public Schools District received an “F” grade and was placed on probation after an audit conducted by the state found JPS in violation of several accrediting standards related to school safety, transportation, disciplinary issues, transportation and record keeping. The report also called into question Gray’s ability to lead the second largest district in Mississippi. The state board gave the district 60 days to submit a corrective action plan in hopes of the probationary status being lifted. Gray led the district through this process and submitted a plan that the state ultimately rejected and sent the district back to the drawing board.
JPS Board President Beneta Burt announced Gray’s resignation October 28. The district now under the leadership of interim Superintendent Fredrick Murray, former CEO of High Schools for the district must submit a new corrective plan of action to the state for review by Dec. 15.