Paso Robles schools superintendent Chris Williams resigned yesterday during an emergency meeting of the Paso Robles school board. The controversial superintendent is leaving after four years with the school district.
Newly elected trustee Chris Arend tells KPRL, the resignation came as a big surprise. According to sources inside the school district, the San Luis Obispo county grand jury recently interviewed Williams about improprieties at the district. That meeting reportedly motivated him to resign. During Williams tenure, the district spent most of the seven and a half million dollar budget reserve. At last report, it was only $754 thousand. The reserve fell from 10% of the operating budget to under 1%. The state requires a 3% budget reserve.
Additionally, after groundbreaking for the $8 million dollar aquatic complex back in April, the pools never manifested. Williams paid to have stainless steel pools imported from Italy, but they never got out of the storage containers after they arrived.
Williams friend Rich Clayton, who served as athletic director, also resigned. So did director of student services Kristin Shouse. Williams resignation is effective in 60 days. The response to the resignation was mixed. Trustee Joel Peterson said it was a very sad day in Paso Robles. At schools throughout the district, teachers were elated that Williams was leaving. The dogmatic, dictatorial superintendent was liked among the staff he hired, mostly from the San Joaquin valley. He was not well liked by teachers, many of whom had been with the district for years. In a thorough teacher’s survey of morale and discipline released by the teachers union, many teachers expressed frustration with Williams and his administration. A number of teachers took early retirement, others transferred out of the district. Three teachers at one middle school took jobs at the California Men’s Colony.
Next Tuesday, the school board will hold its regularly scheduled meeting. At that time, three new trustees will be sworn into office. They will soon implement management cutbacks mandated by the county office of education to recover the districts budget reserve. Once again, Paso Robles school superintendent Chris Williams abruptly resigns. The board accepting his resignation yesterday morning in an emergency meeting at the district office. Although superintendent Williams does not explain his reasons for the resignation, sources in the school district say it comes in response to an interview by the grand jury about improprieties at the school district. We’ll learn more when the grand jury releases the result of its investigation.