Richland School District under fire

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Three weeks ago, the Richland School Board voted to make some big changes. Reassigning or relocating every principal and almost every vice-principal at each of the four campuses that make up the district. 

That’s a lot of change and so far the superintendent’s office has been very quiet. This week, parents have come together to demand answers. 

Seven of the eight administrators, four principals and three vice-principals, are rumored to be facing reassignment next school year in the Richland School District.

Manuel Garcia has daughters in the district. He says he’s frustrated that big changes are being discussed without even consulting any of the parents, any of the teachers, or their community. Saying, “We’re totally in the dark about this.”

Parents and even some students say, when there is change, especially something as big as this, they want to be consulted.

“The first time that I heard about this was from you guys, from the news. And I was wondering why don’t they tell us about that?” another parent, Brenda Ruiz, told 17 News at the parent meeting Monday night in Shafter. 

Because this tight-knit community of parents and students has received very little information over the last three weeks about the threats of administrative dismantling, they assembled Monday night at Shafter Christian Fellowship Church to discuss how they feel and what they think they should do. 

Ruiz says, “If [Richland School District Superintendent Dago Garcia] says the parents are the most important part of all this, why didn’t he come to us first?”

Bobbi Camacho has been a substitute teacher in the district for 15 years. For Camacho, she says, “This are our administration that we love. They have grown with our children since they were little.” 

In fact, some of the administrative staff have contributed as much as 15 years to the district. 

“What happened?” Camacho asked. “What did the administrators do that was so wrong in order for them to relocated, reassigned to different school sites or back into the classroom?” 

A question none of these concerned parents has an answer for. 

Superintendent Garcia did give 17 News a statement Tuesday, saying: “At this point everything that the community and people are talking about is basically rumors. There will be changes but we haven’t said exactly what changes are coming until Thursday.”

Garcia has been promising to issue a statement with more details on March 1 since the beginning of February. 

Until then, some community members have started a petition opposing the reassignment of the Richland administrators. It has gotten over 100 signatures in just 24 hours. 

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