In surprise move, Lakeside Union School District Board reverses decision to lay off principals

Posted at 7:09 AM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 10:43:43-04

LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - Principals in the Lakeside Union School Districts will not be losing their jobs after a decision was made to reverse a call for layoffs.

On Monday night, several angry parents showed up to a Lakeside Union School Board meeting to support the principals, but then the unexpected happened.

"We can't get rid of them and replace them with someone who's fresh out of college or someone who's got less experience," said parent Johnie Bruner.

The Lakeside Union School Board faces a $2 million budget deficit. Earlier this month, they notified parents the principals were on the chopping block.

"It was not a guaranteed layoff, but they were not going to be guaranteeing their job for the next year," Bruner said.

"It was like a five-minute decision, and then they sent a mass email out to all the parents. 'Oh no, we're going to pink slip all of the principals.' That's not OK!" said parent Tina Smith.

That email was the last straw for this tight-knit community.

"You ask our community to show up, they are here every time," said Cathy Sprecco, president of the Lakeside Teachers Association.

After a flood of complaints, the school board adjourned to a closed session. When they returned, they did something no one expected -- they apologized.

"There never was an intention of putting any one of those principals out of their office," said Lakeside Union School Board Member Kevin Howe. "We want those principals to stay in their position and we want them to stay for a long time."

The district blames the state for their budget deficit from pensions and funding cuts, but parents point fingers at the district for unnecessary spending.

"If they put the focus back on the classroom, then we wouldn't be in the position that we're in now," Sprecco said.

"We deserve to know where is this money going," Smith said. "How are we almost $2 million n in the red?"

Ultimately, parents felt the district made a rushed decision.

In the meantime, it's back to the drawing board. The school district still looking for solutions to close the $2 million budget gap.

Parents are urging the community to show up again for the next board meeting on April 6.