School superintendent Vincent E. Reed has rejected another belated attempt by school board members to keep him on the job a little longer, this time in the form of having the City Council pass legislation extending his options on early retirement benefits until his contract expires in March 1982.
"Initially I thought I saw a little sparkle in his eye and thought he would reconsider," said Linda Cropp, the school board member who proposed the plan. "But he still thinks he wants to go out."
Frustrated by a factionalized school board he believes is trying to usurp his powers, Reed announced his retirement in a brief letter to board president R. Calvin Lockridge last week. Since then, Reed, 52, twice has told the school board that he is firm in his decision to retire.
Nevertheless, Cropp, with the support of six other board members, asked City Council Chairman Arrington Dixon to call the council back from vacation to pass emergency legislation that would allow Reed to continue on as superintendent for the next 15 months and then retire with the same benefits he would receive if he leaves before the city's early-out retirement plan expires.
Under the early retirement plan, Reed, who has been in the school system for 27 years, can retire before Dec. 31 and collect 50 percent of his $54,000 annual salary. Starting next year, city employes cannot retire with full benefits until age 55.
Cropp said Dixon, Charlene Jarvis (D-Ward 4), Hilda Mason (Statehood-At-Large), Betty Ann Kane (D-At-Large), Polly Shackleton (D-Ward 3), Nadine Winter (D-Ward 6) and Jerry Moore Jr. (R-At-Large) were all "extra supportive" of the proposed measure, and that David A. Clark (D-Ward 1) "said he had to think about it."
Cropp called the proposed measure a "more flexible negotiating tool" in trying to keep Reed in the system. She acknowledged that the "important thing" was to assure Reed that "seven of us are willing to work closely with the superintendent to find an end to the troubles [between Reed and the board]. . . That doesn't mean we'll be acquiescing, but [we'll be] supportive of things he wants to institute."
The board members who support the proposal, Cropp said, are Nate Bush, Barbara Lett Simmons, Frank Shaffer-Corona, Carol Schwartz, Alaire Rieffel and Frank Smith.