I would like to voice my concerns and to give my opinion regarding Lake Placid Central School's failed leadership. Dr. Richards has engaged in behavior unbecoming of a school leader, flawed decision making and retribution in the workplace. He has failed to create a respectful work environment, has disregarded student and parental needs and concerns, and his tenure is marked by a lack of long-range planning designed to return the district to a place of excellence in the North Country.
I have listened to statements made by School Board President Phil Baumbach that were designed to appease the community, not to promptly address the issues and solve the problems. Comments from Mr. Baumbach such as, “it was a private conversation,” narrow focus,” “representing a small group of people,” “we are volunteers,” “only Dr. Richards can decide to resign,” and “we will take it under consideration” are a non-response to the 600 people who signed the petition calling for Dr. Richards resignation several weeks ago and simply do not effectively address any of the above concerns.
When the adults in charge bully, how do students learn not to? When the adults in charge use language that is offensive and demeaning, how do students learn not to? When there are no consequences for adults who do these things, how can students be held accountable? When respect is lost for the adults in charge, who listens? When personal communication is non-existent, how can there be productive dialogue?
When teachers and students lose confidence in their school leadership, how does it function well?
When the community's concerns are deemed to be insignificant and unimportant, who supports the schools? When parents are so disheartened by the direction of the district that they choose to send their sons and daughters to private schools, or worse yet, to move out of the district, how do the schools thrive?
When those who can make decisions to change the current circumstances and direction of the school district fail to do so, how can they be supported? The challenge is great and time is of the essence.
The Board cannot ignore the above-mentioned incompetency. The Board cannot ignore the many comments shared by a variety of people at the Board's meetings and in the press. The Board cannot continue to ignore the 600 community members who signed a petition calling for Dr. Richards’ resignation.
The Board cannot ignore the pending budget vote in May which, in my opinion, is in danger of not passing, not due to cost to taxpayers, but due to failed leadership and inaction on the part of the BOE.
It will be the first time that I vote no to a school budget.
The Board cannot ignore the most important resource any community has: its children and their education. I would refer the Board to the many high school students who demonstrated their discontent at the end of a school day, the letters to the editor by students, and the presence of some of Lake Placid High School’s finest at BOE meetings.
The lack of competence and the current basis of decision-making for the school district is dangerous, and it is taking the schools in the wrong direction. Decisions need to be made based upon value to students and not on cost alone.
You have heard, but have not listened to your constituents’ message.
There is a solution. The community would support the Board in its effort to remove the current Superintendent of Schools.
Like Nike says: Just do it!