Local News

Dec 17, 2009 7:15 PM by Stacy Daniel

Atascadero Principal pays former employer and admits no wrongdoing

The principal of Atascadero High School is answering tough questions.
Last month principal E.J. Rossi agreed to return $32,000 to the San Ardo school district, where he used to work.
Shortly after he left San Ardo, the district claims it discovered financial discrepancies.
Rossi was hired as assistant principal at Atascadero High in 2007, then promoted to principal in 2008.
Now, people are asking what the district knew when they hired him?
Claiming he's legally not allowed to discuss the terms of the settlement, Atascadero High School principal, E.J. Rossi refused to say why he agreed to pay his former employer, $32,000 thousand dollars.
Rossi says,"Again, I don't want to go into it. Stacy Daniel, "I'm not asking you to go into it. But, I mean obviously, Rossi continues, "It does, it hurts. It's been difficult to go through this. It's not something I would want anyone to go through and my hope has been that this won't impact the things we're doing., because we're having great strides at Atascadero High School."
District officials in Atascadero claim they had no knowledge of the audit being conducted in San Ardo
Atascadero Unified School District Superintendent, John Rogers says, "It was simply a clear record."
So, he continued, saying they had no reason to think there were any descrepancies on Rossi's part.
Rogers says,"The district has had no varifiable documentation verifying these alligations, even today."
Rogers continues to stand by Rossi, saying all of this is just an old personnel issue.
Rogers adds , "It seems like there may be a difference of opinion or a difference between another school district and a former employee. but, in three years of working with Mr. Rossi here he's just shown us to be a man of high character and integrity."
Rossi responds saying, "I stand in the work that I've done, both here and in San Ardo and feel comfortable that based on the things that I have done I don't need to go into those details to justify it."
Rossi went on to say he plans to stay on as principal at Atascadero High School.
He says it's a job he is very passionate about.
Some parents of Atascadero students have contacted KSBY about their concerns
They say they're not convinced he should have been hired on as principal.
The school district says it will stick by Rossi through the remainder of his contract.

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