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WATERVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT WON'T RELEASE LETTER TO PRINCIPAL




September 24, 2015


The Waterville School Department won't release a redacted copy of a letter sent to high school principal Don Reiter to inform him that he was placed on paid leave.

Superintendent Eric Haley earlier this week said he would release a redacted version of the letter to the Morning Sentinel, which requested the document under Maine's Freedom of Access Act.



But in an email Thursday, Haley forwarded comments from Bruce Smith, an attorney from the Drummond Woodsum law firm, who said the district can't release the letter because of state law that protects confidential personnel records.

According to the law, "‘information in any form relating to an employee ... must be kept confidential if it relates to ‘a very wide variety of personnel matters.' Under this law, we believe the letter is confidential and cannot be released, even in redacted form," Smith wrote in an email.

Both Haley and Gregg Frame, Reiter's lawyer, have said the letter is one sentence long.

Reiter was put on paid administrative leave Sept. 1, but school officials will not say why. The school district has conducted an internal investigation over the course of the month alongside a separate police investigation. The district and police have not provided information about the nature of the investigation, but Frame has indicated it has to do with allegations involving another person.

In a phone interview Thursday, Haley said that the internal investigation was almost finished and would be complete "by tomorrow afternoon." District officials interviewed 20 people, including teachers, secretaries and support staff, in the course of the investigation. School officials met with Reiter and his attorney Sept. 8 to discuss the allegations and had a followup meeting earlier this week.

Haley said he will present his findings and a recommendation to the school board. The board's next regular meeting is scheduled for Oct. 7, but it could schedule a special meeting for earlier, Haley said.

Earlier this week, Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey said his department's investigation into Reiter was nearly complete and would be forwarded to Kennebec County District Attorney Maegan Maloney to review and determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

Frame has said repeatedly he expects his client will return to work shortly. Frame said earlier this week that he does not believe the police investigation will result in charges.

 

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