Oak Ridge High School principal on paid leave

The principal at Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills has been placed on administrative leave while the school district “gathers information” about an undisclosed personnel matter, the superintendent of the El Dorado Union High School District confirmed Wednesday.

Superintendent Stephen Wehr said that Principal Paul Burke was placed on paid leave Nov. 2. Wehr said he could provide no details because the district “is working through a confidential personnel matter.” He said the safety of students at the school is not at issue in the inquiry.

Burke’s departure and the lack of detail about his administrative leave has triggered a series of posts on Facebook and Twitter from parents and former students declaring support for the principal and urging others to help “Back Burke.”

Wehr acknowledged that personnel items are expected to be discussed in closed session Tuesday, which is the next regularly scheduled meeting, but he did not say whether Burke’s status would be among them.

On Tuesday, the district issued a prepared statement noting that human resources staff is gathering information. The statement said district officials have met with the management team and staff at the school to help ensure “that the school continues to run well as we meet the needs of our students and their families.”

Wehr said an Oak Ridge administrative team, including assistant principals and counselors, is overseeing the school during Burke’s absence.

Burke has been principal at Oak Ridge since July 2013 and receives an annual salary of $161,809. He could not be reached for comment.

Oak Ridge has 2,400 students, more than a third of the district’s overall enrollment of 6,800.