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South Point district’s finances aired

SOUTH POINT – South Point school district’s financial situation and what it could mean to staff and faculty members was the focal point of last night’s board of education meeting.

Saturday, February 16, 2002

SOUTH POINT – South Point school district’s financial situation and what it could mean to staff and faculty members was the focal point of last night’s board of education meeting.

Teachers in the district continue to work with a contract even though the school year has dwindled down to the final few months. The teachers have been without a contract since August, but voluntarily delayed negotiations early on while the school district replaced the treasurer’s position.

The treasurer’s job has been a revolving door for the district. According to teachers at last night’s meeting, there have been five people in the treasurer’s seat in the last year.

Rita Vance, the educators union president, asked board members about the district’s financial situation, a topic that has been steeped in rumors. Vance, a member of the negotiations team, said that when union representatives left the last negotiation meeting held last week, they were under the impression that no one knew the what the district’s financial situation was.

Two days later at a district-wide meeting, Vance told the school board, superintendent Fred Reeder told the staff that the district is doing well to pay the bills and there would be no raises. Vance told the board the union was under the impression that they were negotiating in good faith with the district but now felt the union is being told two different things.

The board told the teachers that no decision had been made and that the board was waiting for the district’s financial data.

Shortly thereafter, board members went into executive session where they stayed for a few hours.

Despite the double-speak coming from the administration, teachers remain geared to continue working in the classroom Brenda Martin, the union’s treasurer, said teachers will remain in the classroom as long as good faith negotiations continue. She said there are only a few articles in the contract the union and board have been unable to come to terms but the situation has not reached critical levels. She said the union is waiting to see what happens at the next negotiation meeting to determine future steps.

At a board meeting held in October, Reeder came under the gun from community members who questioned whether he was brought in to bust the union – a rumor that was running through the community. The board was quick to dismiss that rumor rumor telling the audience that only the board has the authority to dismiss the union and there are no plans to do so.

Reeder was contacted Tuesday morning but a woman who answered the board’s phone said he was in an "administration meeting." No further information from Reeder was available at presstime.

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