Breckenridge school leaders move to cut a principal

More than 100 parents, teachers and students voiced concerns Friday morning.
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 9:43 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2023 at 12:41 PM CDT
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BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. (Valley News Live) - Tensions ran high early Friday morning in a Minnesota school board meeting.

Despite hundreds of pleas to board members, the Breckenridge District will be cutting its own leadership. Nearly 200 students, and some staff, walked out of the school Friday in support of a principal who is now without a job.

“Many students, staff and citizens of the community think the security and integrity of the school will be compromised if there is no full-time, authoritative principal,” said a Breckenridge High School junior.

In a 6-0 vote, board members moved to let High School Principal Craig Peterson go and put the current elementary school principal in charge of the entire district, K-12.

“We deserve to know what your plan is for the next year, three years, five years, 10 years,” said one Breckenridge teacher. “We need to know this.”

More than 100 parents, staff and students voiced concerns. They called for a full-time school resource officer, and they questioned how one person could oversee more than 600 students and how this will impact already burnt out teachers.

“Does cutting a full-time principal save that much money if you then have to hire a full-time dean and possibly a resource officer?” asked one community member.

The answer to that, school leaders say, is yes. The district is not getting enough funding from the state and with COVID funding going away, they need to make hard cuts.

“We’ve known that we need to make some cuts,” said a board member. “We know that in order to make an administrative change, we’ve got strict timelines we need to adhere to.”

Peterson took the job in 2017 and between the two principals, he’s the least tenured.

“This isn’t a personal, ‘Let’s get Mr. Peterson,’” said a school board member.

Bottom line, school leaders say their backs are against a wall and an administrative position must go. Last year, the district saw a more than $170,000 deficit.

School leaders are proposing moving the superintendent’s office back into the high school for more supervision. Peterson’s cut will save the district $50,000.