To the editor:
As a retired teacher, Lake Placid taxpayer and the parent of two boys who graduated from Lake Placid High School I feel that the Lake Placid School Board needs to dismiss Superintendent Randy Richards.
The board should recognize the degree to which Richards has acted inappropriately. Lake Placid students should be aware of the superintendent as an administrator, not as the object of controversey. The fact that this controversy is of a nature sensitive to adolescent values means that a strong message needs to be sent to these students. Richards needs to be dismissed.
The fact that this is the second superintendent in as many years who is not fulfilling the role suitably means that the hiring process requires change. The fact that the public has never been informed of the facts surrounding the "letting go" of the first superintendent (after Ernie Stretton) but paid his salary and health insurance for 10 months after he left bothers me.
At the same time Lake Placid taxpayers were paying Stretton and the interim superintendent. I don't feel that the board is giving the public the information it is entitled to. I understand the issue of personnel privacy but the fact that our district is not running as it should be means that the public needs the facts and will work to make it better.
I find it very irritating that instead of answers the board goes into executive session and Board President Phil Baumbauch's only comments are in support of Richards.
A recent editorial in the Lake Placid News states that Lake Placid teachers need to contact the paper with their thoughts on this situation. Richards has been found guilty of retaliation in the work place. This fact inhibits employees from sharing opinions. The current work environment in our schools is not one of open communication.
There have been reports that Richards has consistently made purchase of technology without consult. I am unaware of the specific policy regarding this, but in this economic climate it is unethical. Additionally the purchases have been controversal regarding their necessity, according to some people.
Finally, I think it's hard to pinpoint exactly how good teachers teach but in large part there is an emotional, caring, compassionate componant. Richards' words about the Lake Placid Elementary teachers was an emotionally laden slur.
Richards has been found guilty of behavior not appropriate in the work place. Why is he still here?