By Jonathan Jenkins, Queen's Park Bureau
TORONTO — The school board that once wanted to fire teacher Hendrik Reinders now says it can't discuss why it paid him $410,000 in 2011 - to protect his privacy.
"That was the amount reported in box 214 of his T4 slip," said Kerrie Girard, information officer with the Near North School Board. "You're probably very aware that I can't comment on anything but that amount. I can't comment directly on what has gone into the amount reported."
Girard did say Reinders didn't perform any extra duties or have unique skills he needed to be compensated for.
The Ontario Ministry of Education also refused to comment on the case, saying it was up to the board to discuss.
Reinders was the highest paid school board employee in all of Ontario for 2011, pulling down $120,000 more than the directors of education in Toronto and York region.
He's the only teacher in the top 50 school salaries in Ontario and received more than twice as much as the next highest teacher on the list. Only two teachers were able to crack the top 150 school board salaries, all the rest being directors, assistant directors and other high ranking administrators.
Girard said in general there are a few ways a teacher can wind up with significant extra pay, including opting out of a deferred salary plan, collecting parental leave for a previous year or getting bumped into an acting vice principal role. None of those examples by themselves could account for a teacher earning $410,000 in a single year though.
What Girard would not confirm was the high salary being the end result of a lengthy dispute between the Near North board and Reinders, beginning with the board's effort to fire him in 2003.
The board alleged Reinders, who had at the time a decade experience as a teacher, had sexually harassed a student, kissing her on the cheek and patting her behind, according to a summary of the legal case.
Criminal charges were brought against him in 2004 but were dismissed at trial, as the judge ruled the complainant overstated the incidents and misunderstood Reinders' intentions.
He won a further victory in the case in 2006, when the Ontario College of Teachers dropped a disciplinary hearing against him. His lawyer did not return calls requesting comment.
Reinders remains a teacher in good standing, the college's website says.
Officials mum on Ont. teacher's $410K salary - Canada - Canoe.ca (external - login to view)
What the hell? 410K? Something really fishy here.