Northeastern principal to be paid for months despite resignation

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

Northeastern School District officials formally accepted the resignation of Peter Fernandez, the principal whose middle school was the center of a bullying controversy.

Fernandez will remain on administrative leave from Feb. 24 to July 31 at his current salary — $112,585 annually, according to documents obtained by The York Dispatch.

Northeastern officials agreed to give Fernandez a letter of reference and to transfer 6½ of his unused sick days to his next job. It wasn't clear Friday if Fernandez had a job at another school district lined up. He has not responded to requests for comment.

“As of the date of employee’s resignation from the District, Employee shall be issued a satisfactory performance review for the 2022-2023 school year,” the agreement said. 

The Northeastern School District Administrative Center in Manchester, Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

As of his resignation date, Northeastern will also pay Fernandez for his five unused vacation days, five unused administrative leave days and 2½ unused personal days.

MORE:Police ID injured man, but not officer, in shooting incident involving riding mower

MORE:Juvenile taken into custody following alleged threat to Hanover school

MORE:'I don't know why': Red Lion searches for answers in 12-year-old's fatal shooting

His personnel file will be removed within 10 business days after the school board approval and the completion of the agreement. 

He will be able to fetch his belongings outside of school hours. 

Fernandez signed March 22 and Mike Redding, school board president, signed a day later. 

Over the past few months, residents, students and staff told the board about problems in the middle school, such as bullying, vandalism, lack of transparency and violence.

>>Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.

During the Feb. 20 board meeting, middle school student Sydney Eschbach told the board of how she was assaulted — hit so hard she had to sit down to catch her breath. Math teacher Mattison Prematta told the board she felt like a sitting duck.

At the time, board President Mike Redding said safety is the board's No. 1 priority and that the board was addressing the issue. He said it was a personnel matter, so he couldn’t say much. 

School Board President K. Mike Redding during the Northeastern School District Board of School Directors work session at Northeastern School District Administrative Center in Manchester, Monday, March 6, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“When it comes to safety … you should not be afraid to go to school,” Redding said, during that meeting. “I’m sorry; it should not happen." 

MORE:'Fitting tribute': Students to play piece composed for bullied teen who took his own life

MORE:Where is Kadin Black? Police still looking for clues

MORE:York City Police seek woman who allegedly shot at residence

A little over a week later, Superintendent Stacey Sidle emailed parents to announce that Fernandez had been placed on leave. In late March, the school board named high school math teacher Jay Kipp as the middle school’s interim principal.

According to Fernandez’s Linkedin profile, he became the middle school principal in July 2021, previously serving as an assistant principal at Central York Middle School.

Sidle and Randi Payne, the district's assistant superintendent, announced their plans to retire at about the same time.