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How Laura Perkins Got Her Job Back | News

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How Laura Perkins Got Her Job Back
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Westside High Principal Laura Perkins was suspended with pay on August 10.

It all started with a $1.7 million grant given to Westside in the summer of 2010. The Blended Learning Opportunities grant was to improve math and science scores and technology literacy.

Perkins looked for a technology consultant to help decide how best to disburse the grant, and last month, Superintendent Romain Dallemand said he planned to fire her over how she went about hiring that consultant.

In the termination letter, Dallemand wrote that she "attempted to appropriate grant funds for consulting services in violation of District policy by not following the bid process. Instead, you simply posted a bid on the Westside website without prior notification to the grant administrator. The request for bids was not posted on the District's website or advertised in the newspaper."

The letter also alleges that Perkins used the wrong paperwork and the person who responded to the bid request was employed with the school district at the time, which is against the rules and a show of favoritism, .

"Because of the above-listed concerns," Dallemand wrote, "the school district has lost confidence in your ability to oversee Westside high school in a professional and ethical manner."

It goes on to say, "your continued presence carries the probability of danger, disruption or other serious harm to our schools, our mission, pupils or personnel as your actions."

Joshua Brown, a volunteer at the school said, "In my opinion it wasn't handled right because i would have kept her in the school. I really don't think taking her on administrative leave and all that was necessary."

"I don't know all the facts, never will know all the facts," said Westside Grandparent Edward Ervin, "but here's a woman who has given her whole life to education and I just felt concerned the way she was treated about this."

Two weeks after that termination letter, another letter stated the school board was withdrawing the primary charge that Perkins violated the board's bidding policy.

Then Thursday, Dallemand released a statement that said, in part, "I have since uncovered new information that changed the facts as they were originally presented to me. ... In light of these developments, I have concluded that Ms. Perkins has not engaged in any wrongdoing and should be fully reinstated as Westside principal."

Dallemand's statement said Perkins and the school district have agreed not to comment any further on the issue.

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