School board members, Janet Smith, Board President Phil Baumbach and Board Secretary Jill Cardinale Segger listen as Superintendent, Randy Richard’s delivers his superintendent report at March 6 school board meeting.
Baumbach respond’s to community’s petition for Richards resignation
“I’d like to make a statement on behalf of the board of education to respond to recent concerns raised by our community members at our last regular board meeting. We received a request for the resignation of Dr. Richards.
“The petition requests that Dr. Richards resign, which is a decision that only he can make. The board members, who are all volunteers, have been hearing from the community about various concerns for a period of time. Since receiving the petition, we have spent hours in executive session discussing these personnel matters.
“We ran for the school board because we believe that this school district is a community which needs effective leadership to thrive. And as a board, we recognize our responsibility to provide leadership to this community on behalf of the students, families, and staff in a way that meets the educational and fiscal goals of the district.
“Our goals are like yours. We work to provide a welcoming, stimulating environment which inspires students to achieve their potential and thrive.
“The board cannot provide any definitive answers at this time, but we are working towards a solution that is in the best interest of the community and we ask for your patience and understanding.”
School board President Phil Baumbach asked the community for patience while they determine how to respond to the petition signed by almost 600 community members demanding Superintendent Dr. Randy Richards’ resignation at the Lake Placid School Board meeting on March 6.
“The board cannot provide any definitive answers at this time, but we are working towards a solution that is in the best interest of the community, and we ask for your patience and understanding,” Baumbach said.
He reminded those in attendance if Richards were to resign, the school board would have no influence over his decision.
“The petition requests that Dr. Richards resign, which is a decision that only he can make,” Baumbach said.
At the board’s Feb. 21 meeting, it was presented with a petition signed by almost 600 people asking for Richards to resign immediately. The petition was circulated in response to comments made by Richards directed to High School Principal Katherine Mulderig and other female faculty members, calling them “bitchy,” in March of last year.
On Feb. 10, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled Richards engaged in gender discrimination, retaliation and created a hostile work environment in a complaint made by Mulderig.
Baumbach had said in previous media reports that the school board will stand behind Richards. The board’s decision to stand behind Richards has resulted in negative community opinion. Lake Placid resident Linda Wallace told the board she holds them responsible for Richards negligible actions.
“You either aren’t trying hard enough or you need to step down and let someone else do it,” Wallace said. “I hold all of you fully accountable for not being able to manage Dr. Richards. Perhaps his poor performance, if it had been addressed when it started, we wouldn’t be in such a quagmire that we are in now.”
“We are no longer asking for your resignation, we are demanding your resignation,” Lake Placid resident Holly Caustice said.