in Houston, Texas
Arlington ISD principal resigns following investigation into absences, travel logs
Thursday, Oct 27, 2011, 02:45PM CST
By Steve Miller
absent

The principal of a high school in the Arlington school district blamed a "drug-induced haze” for her failure to report numerous absences following surgery in October 2010. The story of Martin High principal Melinda Reeves reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is one of a hushed investigation that resulted in her suspension in May, her replacement in June, and her resignation in August.

After her failure to report the absences, the district then investigated her travel forms and more absences from March through May. Her attorney, Karl Tiger Hanner, told the newpaper she had committed no wrongdoing.

According to records obtained by the Star–Telegram, which included reports from Rick Tice, Arlington ISD's director of personnel services:

Reeves claimed 41 miles on a travel log to attend a soccer game in Bedford that she apparently did not make because of traffic. (Hanner, her attorney, said that because of traffic delays, Reeves arrived just after the game ended.) Reeves wrote two mileage entries on the same date: 28 miles for a baseball game in Fort Worth and 241 miles for a softball game in Cisco.

Reeves submitted a travel reimbursement form for 280 miles to attend baseball playoffs in Brownwood, while "some information indicates she carpooled" with a couple in their vehicle, Tice wrote.

She requested a check for $517.38 made out to an Austin restaurant to buy dinner for Martin student performers. Tice notes that the students were already given money for expenses and that the check was returned and voided May 13.

Tice also said three of Reeves' half-day absences and one late arrival from late March to early May were "not entered in the system."

"After all the scrutiny in January of this year, it appears that Ms. Reeves continues to be careless about the accuracy of her time and mileage reports," Tice said in his memo.

Reeves was making $127,125. Questions that remain, of course, involve the status of her teaching license – can she teach again after this? Records at the state of Reeves' license show no trouble. And then there's her pension, which is zealously guarded under state law.

***

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of money by flickr user athrasher
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Comments
FurtherQuestions
Thursday, 10/27/2011 - 04:04PM

Let's make sure we've asked all the questions before making a conclusion. 1)The soccer game is Bedford - seems reasonable that she got to the game late. Was there a game the day she claimed she drove? 2)Was there a baseball game in Ft. Worth and a softball game in Cisco on the day she claimed to drive to them? Is it possible to drive to both in the same day? If yes, then it's reasonable she did those things. 3)Carpooling - what is the evidence she carpooled and what is the evidence she didn't? 4)The check for food for students - it seems reasonable she didn't know they got money on their own and requested funds; the check got returned, without ever being cashed, right? Seems reasonable this could be a miscommunication. 5)Wow - three whole 1/2 days and one late arrival - that 1.5 days...how much did it cost the school to discover 1.5 days was reported incorrectly out of the school year of what - 180 days? That's not even 1% of the days reported incorrectly. I have only read this article and no other - so I don't have all the information. Perhaps there is more out there that suggests this behavior was malicious and fraudulent. But this article alone suggests to me there is a history of incorrect or suspicious activity - not a history of fraudulence or purposeful abuse.

Steve Chadwick
Sunday, 10/30/2011 - 09:30AM

Maybe all the mismanagement of tax payer funds should be audited. It seems that waste and abuse resides everywhere in Tarrant County. The only problem is that once identified, they always have an excuse why they had to do it, or how it will save money over the long run

watchdog warrior
Sunday, 10/30/2011 - 01:28PM

There is more to it than this. Lots more.

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