The staff members involved in the decision to remove the "letters" from Fran Rish Stadium and Carmichael Hill recently will not be disciplined by the Richland School District. Below is a memo sent out by Dr. Rick Schulte, the Richland superintendent.
The school board requested information regarding who was responsible for removal of the three concrete letters last week. I have completed my inquiry into who made the decision to remove the “H” and “R” letters from Fran Rish Stadium and the “C” from Carmichael hill, and why.
The following Richland School District staff played a role in the decision that the letters should be removed if an opportunity arose: the principals of Hanford High School, Richland High School, and Carmichael Middle School; the Richland High athletic director; the Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Instruction; and the Executive Director of Support Services.
The staff mentioned above cited safety and supervisory concerns as the main reasons for removing the letters. Since the hillside including the visitor bleachers is scheduled for significant excavation work with large equipment, and since there is concern the letters could be damaged or would have to be moved in conjunction with the work, this seemed like a good time to proceed. Our Director of Facilities, Operations & Grounds carried out his understanding of requests from these staff by hiring a firm to remove the letters. There was no written work order or other written documentation requesting removal of the letters.
School administrators and maintenance staff have the responsibility and authority to maintain, replace, remove, repair, or construct projects of this scale and scope necessary or desirable to the effective functioning, safety, and durability of their school facilities. As a general rule, projects of this size do not require advance approval from the superintendent or school board.
Nevertheless, given the unique nature of the letters and the strong attachment many people have for them, better judgment would be to seek broader involvement in the decision. This should have included the superintendent and school board along with any interested students, staff, alumni, boosters, and families.
These staff are excellent employees who work hard to help RSD students succeed. They are long-term residents of Richland, and most of them are graduates of Richland High School who value the history and traditions of the school. They are committed to working with all of us to protect, preserve, and restore the valued traditions connected to the three letters. We are ready to move forward with constructive solutions.
The board also requested that we examine board policy to see whether any additions or revisions are desirable to prevent any similar incident from happening in the future. We are still conducting a review and analysis of the policy
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