AUBURN – The Auburn School Board received comments Monday regarding Superintendent Kevin Reiman, who was put on paid leave without explanation from the school board.
Board members have not refuted social media posts that indicate the board was motivated by the showing of video footage from school surveillance cameras in Reiman’s home over Christmas break.
Former school board member Bob Engles said Reiman’s leadership style allows good people to produce exceptional results.
Engles: “I have served on school boards where the superintendent had surrounded himself with people who felt comfortable working in an atmosphere of mediocrity. Please do not allow this to happen. Sit down with Kevin, figure out something both sides can live with and let’s put this issue behind us.”
Parent Mandy Hall said it has taken years for Auburn to build its public schools to its current level of success and said Reiman and his family have made the difference.
Hall: “Students see them in their school and in their classrooms. He and his family attend almost every school event, near and far. The Reimans are a part of our community through and through.”
She said Reiman has not used the school district as a stepping stone for better jobs elsewhere, but is dedicated to Auburn and its school system.
Hall: “There is not another school district in the state of Nebraska that can exceed what Auburn has done over the last seven years with Mr. Reiman at its helm. I could go on and on with the way Kevin and his wife Deb and their family have made a difference, from foster care awareness and our Legion baseball program to his dedication to our State Theater, plus so much more.”
Hall: “My fear as a citizen and as a business owner in this community is the affect that your decision is going to have on our community.”
She said current administrators may decide to leave and prospective administrators may not be eager to enter the school district under the circumstances.
Hall: “Would you like to work for a school board that threw its current superintendent “under the bus” so to speak?
Hall: “You should be protecting your most valued employee – Superintendent Kevin Reiman. Do not let outside influences dictate your decision. Do not give in when times are tough. Do not take the easy way out.”
Hall: “You, as a board, voted to suspend Mr. Reiman and then you informed him that he is not even allowed on school grounds, not even to attend his children’s activities and, initially, he wasn’t even allowed to drop off or pick up his kids from school. He has dedicated 20 years to our school and our community. Do you not think this is a gross over-reaction?
Hall: “You are treating him as if he is a monster, not the father of nine current and graduated children of this school. A man who has dedicated over 20 years to the students of this district. A man who is loved by the students, faculty, staff and this community.”
Hall: “Just as it takes those years for a school system to be built, it takes one spark to burn it all down. Like a wildfire, Auburn Public School’s reputation and success can be rapidly destroyed … gone.”
Hall: “I feel our school board and those in this community who have influenced you have lit the very match that will burn it all down.”
She said the school board can stop the wildfire by holding to the school’s “Bulldog Way” which calls not for perfection, but for being the best version of ourselves.
Newspaper Publisher Kendall Neiman said he is concerned about the precedent the board is setting. He said the board should have sent a letter of reprimand and then concerned itself with articulating policies regarding the use of footage from cameras in schools.
Neiman: “I, as a parent, can’t be responsible for these devices that we have turned our children loose with, these phones.”
Former Auburn teacher Bill Moran said Mr. Reiman made a serious mistake, but said the results support the idea that Reiman is as good as any administrator in the state.
Moran: “Almost everything about this situation is unfortunate, but here we are. One good thing that I have seen is the outpouring of support for Mr. Reiman.”
The superintendent’s brother, attorney Korey Reiman, said he is frustrated with the secrecy through the Jan. 9 meeting.
Reiman: “And all these people showed up and didn’t get a voice. And then, my brother is banned from being at this meeting.
Reiman: “I believe, Mr. Jones, you talk about this open meetings act. We pass our laws so we can sit here and listen and see what you guys did and then you banned my brother from attending how his career is going to go. I question whether you are not in violation of the open meeting act.
Reiman: “You are supposed to, if you read those laws, to accommodate people and we are sitting here talking about his future and you banned him from even listening. How is that right?
Reiman: “He requested today to be here and he was told no because he wasn’t on the agenda. He spent his entire career here. We didn’t see him in our family because he was out there doing foster kids, he was at baseball games, he was volunteering his time and you gave him respect that he can’t even be here when you’re getting ready to fire him.”
He noted the absence of board member Bill Chapin and said it appears the die has been cast without sufficient public input.
Chantelle Wilke credits Reiman for his support of early childhood education and said she fears the district will take a step backward if he should leave.
Former school board member Bob Hemmingsen offered his support to the current board members and said he believes the board is well-qualified to make a decision.