No pink slips for Lakeside principals

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It was a shock to the Lakeside community when parents received notice that all the principals in the Lakeside Union School District were on the chopping block for not returning to their schools next year. With everything done in closed session, it is hard to comprehend how they came to this decision to close a $2 million budget deficit. Parents and the community were mortified by this decision and showed up in full force in support of keeping the principals in place and finding another way to deal with the deficit.

It was a shock to the Lakeside community when parents received notice that all the principals in the Lakeside Union School District were on the chopping block for not returning to their schools next year. With everything done in closed session, it is hard to comprehend how they came to this decision to close a $2 million budget deficit. Parents and the community were mortified by this decision and showed up in full force in support of keeping the principals in place and finding another way to deal with the deficit.

The Lakeside Union School Board blames the state for its budget problems from pensions and funding cuts, but for a few years now fingers have been pointed at the Lakeside Union School District Board and its Superintendent Dr. David Lorden. This is not the first time that the Board has been in the hot seat. With its prior negotiations with the California School Employees Association, the community and the California Teachers Association picketed the LUSD building in its rash decision making in attempting to eliminate the basic rights of classified employees. As in this case it shows a true lack of transparency and the given rights of collective bargaining.

At that time, Lorden was fairly new to the District and both teachers and classified employees were concerned over his hiring of so many legal advisors, a debt that they both expressed was unnecessary and potentially dangerous to the District’s budget and its ability to work in collaboration with its teachers and classified staff.

Once again it has made a rash decision and when confronted by the community turned around and changed their minds, giving no real explanation of how this decision was made in the first place. I understand getting to a balanced budget, but who in their right mind would think that laying off experienced principals at all the schools would be the right thing to do and something that would be acceptable to the community. The District has some phenomenal programs in its schools, many unlike any others in the county or state. These programs are proven effective and give young students a great chance at being ahead of the game as they traverse their way through the educational system.

The Board has to find another way to balance the budget. Instead of looking at the people that make the Lakeside District a great place to be educated, it might want to look a bit more internally and the leadership and its spending.

Thank you to the Board for quickly reconsidering and then apologizing to the community for these actions. Lorden is an accomplished administrator with many accolades under his belt. I am not saying he is not fit for his job. But in working with the Board, they need to stop this irrational and quick decision making process. It just does not work and the Lakeside community will not stand for it much longer. If this style of behavior continues, it will be board members and possibly a superintendent that will be looking for jobs. 

Serve the students first. Respect the principals, teachers and staff. They are the ones in the trenches every single day making sure that our youth are prepared for what awaits them at the next level of education. And they are doing it well. If you need to make cuts, start looking at the top end spending and see where you can cut the costs and not at the expense of the students and the people that educate them.

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