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School board may vote to officialize position

Newport-Mesa Unified Acting Supt. Paul Reed would get a salary increase and more official status, if the vote passes.

March 21, 2011|By Britney Barnes, britney.barnes@latimes.com

Editor's note: This corrects the amount Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard is receiving per month while he is on leave.

COSTA MESA — The Newport-Mesa Unified School District school board could decide to make Acting Supt. Paul Reed's temporary position more official and increase his salary by about $5,260 a month.

The board is expected to vote Tuesday night on whether to add an addendum to Reed's contract giving him full board backing to fulfill the duties of the superintendent, according to agenda documents.

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Reed, the deputy superintendent and chief business official, has been filling in as superintendent since Jan. 24, when Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard was put on paid administrative leave.

Hubbard was charged with two felony charges of misappropriation of funds while at his previous post as superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District. He and a co-defendant have pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Reed was appointed acting superintendent by school board President Walt Davenport, but the position needs full school board approval to meet legal requirements, Reed said.

Without it, it could open the district up to litigation, he said.

"It's a more formal agreement, and it protects the district so things don't fall through the cracks," he said.

While Reed is holding down the top post in the district, his pay would be increased by $263 a day to be on par with what the superintendent earns.

The pay increase would be retroactive from Feb. 16, although he took on the extra responsibility nearly a month before, according to the documents.

Reed said he only asked to get back pay from that date because he felt that his contract called for him to fill in for the superintendent temporarily, he said.

The add-on to Reed's contract would only last while he fills in for Hubbard or until June 30, according to the document.

"I certainly appreciate the faith the board has put in me to guide the district and I'm very humbled," Reed said.

Hubbard is still receiving his salary of about $25,497 a month while on leave, according to the document.

The 53-year-old official requested the board put him on paid administrative leave after he felt he became a "clear distraction to the district," according to a Jan. 23 e-mail from Hubbard to Davenport.

"In this manner, we can take the spotlight off of me and put it back on our schools and the important work of our district," Hubbard said in the email.

There is no definite date for Hubbard to return to his duties, Reed said.

Hubbard is accused of misappropriating $20,000, without school board approval, to benefit former Beverly Hills Unified facilities director Karen Anne Christiansen. He is also charged with illegally increasing her car allowance.

After he pleaded not guilty to both charges, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Jan. 24 that there was enough evidence for him to face trial.

If You Go

What: Newport-Mesa Unified School District's Board of Education Meeting

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Roderick H. MacMillian Board Room in the District Education Center, 2985 A. Bear St., Costa Mesa.

Info: See the entire agenda online at http://www.nmusd.us

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