At tomorrow night’s school board meeting, there will a routine rubber stamping of a contract extension for Deputy Superintendent and Chief Business Official Paul Reed. This is one of those really sweet deals in which you sign an original contract for a specified term that has no real meaning because each year, you’re going to get an extension.

And – hooray! – you don’t even have to prove you’ve earned it!

I don’t know Reed. I don’t know that we’ve ever met. Maybe he’s a nice guy. If so, great. But I really don’t care. What I want from the head financial guy is not an analysis of what has already happened, which seems to be standard operating procedure, I want plans for the future. For the kind of dough he’s pulling down, taxpayers should have for example, a plan to reduce or eliminate the outrageous $6 million deficit in the bus transportation program. Bus fees haven’t been raised in about 20 years. When was the last time Reed recommended an overhaul of the program and/or recommend an increase in fees?

And the budget… Where’s the plan to right this ship?

All that will not matter to the board. They’ll approve his contract unanimously without placing any demands on his performance. They’ll even tell each other what a good job he’s doing. Why? Because it’s not their money they’re spending, it’s yours.

One thing I would like to see – and it won’t cost any money or take any time… Someone ought to tell Reed to stop with the cute PowerPoint images and flip remarks. They’re not funny, they are unprofessional. And they are particularly out of order when the district is in a financial bind. I find them condescending to both the board and taxpayers.

Steve Smith

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