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South Point superintendent under fire

SOUTH POINT - Rumors circulating through this community brought a packed house to last night’s South Point School District’s Board of Education meeting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

SOUTH POINT - Rumors circulating through this community brought a packed house to last night’s South Point School District’s Board of Education meeting.

The board was asked to separate fact from fiction during the time for public input. The board was asked about the rumors, which ranged from recent resignations of key personnel to allegations that the school’s new Superintendent, Fred Reeder, was brought in as a hired gun to bust up the teacher’s and non-certified personnel’s union.

These rumors come at a bad time – the school board and the teacher’s union are currently working on a new contract. The old contract terminated in August and the educators agreed to continue to work under the old contract until the board could hire a new treasurer. The school board and the teacher’s union met last week and continue to hash out terms of a new contract.

One of the rumors mentioned at the meeting was that the district’s former treasurer, Sandra Benson, resigned because she was unable to work with Reeder. Benson was a 20 year employee of the school district who recently resigned from her position. Board member Bernie Belville dismissed that statements, saying it was untrue. Due to confidentiality, the board could not discuss the reason Benson resigned, but did comment that Benson’s working relationship with Reeder was never in question. Belville said Benson resigned prior to Reeder taking the position.

Reeder’s salary also drew heat from the community. According to board vice president Glen Seagraves, Reeder earns about $83,000 per year plus the board picks up his retirement – about a $91,000 compensation package. Community members believed Reeder was to be hired at $68,000, a figure that Seagraves said was never discussed. The board explained that it would be difficult to find a qualified Superintendent for that amount when salaries of other superintendent throughout the state was compared to what South Point paid. The board said Reeder’s salary is comparable to other school districts.

During the meeting, Seagraves said former Superintendent Rick Waggoner may have spoiled the board. He said Waggoner never asked for a raise. Waggoner, Seagraves explained, started the Superintendent job at $73,000 a year, nine years ago, and only made $78,000 upon his resignation.

"He (Waggoner) never asked for a raise…maybe we took advantage of it," Seagraves said.

The board was quick to dismiss the rumor that Reeder was brought in to bust the union. Board members told the audience that only the board has the authority to dismiss the union and there are no plans to do so, nor have there ever been plans to bust the union.

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