Oak Ridge High School parents urge board to resolve principal’s status

El Dorado Union High School District trustees are scheduled to meet behind closed doors this week, and some community members hope the board will resolve the work status of Oak Ridge High School Principal Paul Burke.

Burke has been on paid leave since Nov. 2 while the district works through an undisclosed “confidential personnel matter,” according to Superintendent Stephen Wehr.

Allan Priest, president of the Oak Ridge School Foundation, said trustees will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday in the district office at 4675 Missouri Flat Road in Placerville. He said community members are frustrated that the district has “chosen not to resolve this issue promptly and work with Paul Burke to keep him” at the El Dorado Hills high school.

At a school board meeting last week, hundreds of people attended to support the Oak Ridge principal. Burke’s absence and the lack of detail about his administrative leave has triggered a social media campaign by supportive parents and former students.

Wehr described the upcoming meeting as a “special meeting ... to discuss confidential personnel issues,” but he declined to provide details.

“The board is working to be really thoughtful and purposeful in all of these processes,” Wehr said. “It’s not easy for any of these folks. People are working really hard to do the right thing.”

An Oak Ridge administrative team, including assistant principals and counselors, is overseeing the school during Burke’s absence. Wehr has said the safety of students is not an issue in the case.