MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The investigation continues into Superintendent Joris Ray’s extramarital affairs.
Memphis Shelby County School Superintendent Joris Ray’s latest employment contract was signed in April of 2019 and ends in January 2025, but there are stipulations in it that could end his $293,000 a year job early.
The School Board was in the middle of a national search for a superintendent back in 2019 when they decided to halt that process and hire Joris Ray who was serving on an interim basis.
A termination clause says the School Board can end the contract if it determines there has been a breach or violation of Board policy.
The School Board has hired an attorney to see if that has happened after accusations Ray had extramarital affairs possibly with school system employees.
Ray expressed his disappointment after the Board voted during Wednesday’s meeting to investigate the possible policy violations and placed him on paid leave.
“I am disappointed by the board’s actions tonight,” he said. “However I want to make it very clear that I respect the board’s oversight.”
We asked Ray through his attorney for an interview but never heard back.
His employment contract lays out what happens if Ray is terminated. It says under Unilateral Termination, the Board must pay Ray severance, the lesser of 18 months or the balance of the contract at the time of termination.
He would get that money in one lump sum.
Ray would be given a 15 days notice of his termination, except in the cases concerning allegations of criminal or professional misconduct.
If Ray resigns, he must notify the board within 60 days, and then he would have no right to severance pay only the salary and benefits he accrued.
Those benefits include a tax-sheltered annuity, professional membership fees and dues, a comprehensive health care plan, up to 45 days of vacation, a district-owned automobile for personal and professional use, and a half a million dollar whole life insurance policy.
The Board also has a liability insurance policy on Ray that covers alleged wrongful acts and omissions. The Board also insures the Superintendent against claims or other legal proceedings that arise out of his actions within the course of his employment.
The contract says Ray can also hire separate legal counsel with the board covering the costs for the defense. Because the Board is a public body, it’s your public dollars that cover the costs.