Arlington ISD principal resigns following investigation into absences, travel logs

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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.

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

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