Former Lake Placid Middle/High School Principal Robert Schiller hands Lake Placid Central School Board President Phil Baumbach a petition of almost 600 names of people who are demanding that School Superintendent Randy Richards resign during the Feb. 21 meeting. Richards, seen at the far right, had admitted to and apologized for using inappropriate language when referring to female employees.
Photo by Andy Flynn.
“How’d you get the $500,000?” Erenestone asked. “The levy is capped at 0 percent in the contingency budget, so that’s $246,000 — not $500,000. That number was unfounded. You’re off by half!”
Voters have the right to defeat the school budget and force a contingency budget, Erenstone argued.
“And it doesn’t have to hurt the students, and don’t make that claim, because that is a bully tactic, and it’s a bully tactic using misinformation,” Erenstone said, adding that the district can use its fund balance to save programs for students.
Richards responded to Erenstone.
“You’re way out of bounds in attacking my morality or my competence,” the superintendent said. “You want to talk about bullying? You’re a bully to sit there and call me that, point the finger that way.”
The $500,000 came from taking the money the district had to cut to get to the proposed budget plus another quarter million dollars.
“That’s over half a million dollars cut to programs, and it’s no bully tactic at all,” Richards said. “You take that much away from their budget and kids suffer and programs suffer. I stand by that. This district cannot afford to go much further in its reserves. I have concerns about using the reserves we’ve used this year and last year.”
Richards vs. Mulderig
In 2011, Principal Mulderig filed a gender discrimination complaint against Richards, and the Equal Opportunity Employment Coalition subsequently found that Richards engaged in both gender discrimination and retaliation against Mulderig, and created a hostile work environment for the principal.
Sources within the school confirm that Mulderig is gone for good. She left before Easter break and will not return to work.
District leaders have remained mum on the matter, though Richards issued a terse press release.
“The district and a particular employee have reached a tentative agreement regarding the separation from employment and resolution of the disputed claims,” the release stated. “The Board of Education authorizes the President of the Board of Education to execute a settlement agreement and release on behalf of the district and such other documents as may be necessary to effectuate the terms of that agreement as recommended by the attorney for the district.”