In this era of lost leadership, there always seems to be more.

The routine, unanimous, rubber stamping approval of the contract extension for Deputy Super Paul Reed will take place at tonight’s school board meeting, accompanied by the usual praise and devoid of any performance demands.

Reed’s contract is similar to the other top administrators who are feeding at the public trough without proper accountability. These contracts are originally signed for a period of a few years, but each year, starting with the first, the board adds a one-year extension, making it a job for life. (Unless you’re like John Caldecott and attempt to point out what you believe is wrongdoing. In that case, you get fired without a hearing.) The only time I don’t recall a contract extension was the year ex-Super Jeff Hubbard was indicted.

Reed gets a cellphone allowance of $100 and a mileage allowance, even if he doesn’t drive the miles. In the contract, it’s called a “transportation allowance” and the amount is $650 per month. (FWIW, my cellphone bill is $60/month. I have unlimited talk and text and a 2GB data limit, which I’ve never met. Just sayin’.)

Your tax dollars are also being spent to purchase a $50,000 life insurance policy for Reed. The contract does not state the beneficiary. If the beneficiary is the school district, then this may not be a bad idea. But if the beneficiary is a family member or friend, there’s a problem. If that’s the case, Reed should be spending his own money, not ours.

There’s also a curious entry with regard to an annual medical exam that you’re paying for. It’s a $500 allowance (“A drop in the bucket,” remember?) for Reed to have a “physical/medical evaluation at a physician of the Deputy Superintendent’s choice.” But the curious part is the last sentence, which reads, “The district has no claim or interest in the results of the examination.” So, if the district doesn’t care about the results, why are taxpayers paying for it? Oh, that’s right, it’s just a drop in the bucket.

Another drop in the bucket will be approved tonight, again without any argument or discussion. This one stings a bit more than a $500 useless medical exam. This one is for “additional budget allocations” of $245,000 in legal fees to three law firms. There is no detail as to why your tax dollars are being spent on lawyers, except for this entry: “Due to several ongoing challenges to the District that require the expertise that these law firms offer, staff is asking the Board of Education to authorize an additional $245,000 for the provision of legal services pertaining to Public Education Support Services through June 30, 2015.”

Yes, you read it correctly: This additional allocation of $245,000 will cover the district’s legal fees for about another three weeks. Then, presumably, it’s back to the trough for more of your tax dollars.

Here’s an idea: Save taxpayers a lot of dough and give John Caldecott the hearing he wants. It’s really simple: Caldecott gets up, he makes his case, and everyone in the administration and on the board smiles and says, “Thank you very much” and the saga ends. Everyone wins: Caldecott, the board, and taxpayers.

But never mind – I forgot. That extra $245K is just a drop in the bucket.

School board meeting tonight at 6 p.m. There are a bunch of the usual awards and recognitions before the rubber stamping starts. You can read the agenda by clicking here. You can read Deputy Super Reed’s 2013 contract by clicking here.

Steve Smith

 

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