Shandon students storm out of class in protest

October 16, 2013


Shandon High School students stormed out of class today in protest of the  firing of Shandon Joint Unified School District Superintendent Rodney Wallace at a special board meeting Tuesday.

The school board fired Wallace by a 5-0 vote in closed session and did not publicly provide a reason for his termination. The board said his contract would terminate as of noon Wednesday, but, after Wallace arrived at Shandon High School Wednesday morning, a member of the board escorted him off campus.

More than 10 high school students stayed home Wednesday and at least 20 additional students walked out of class in protest, sources told CalCoastNews. Shandon High School has a total enrollment of 58 students.

A campus officer attempted to chase down some of the students. Nevertheless, even more students plan to leave at noon, sources said.

Numerous parents who protested Wallace’s firing at the meeting Tuesday credited the superintendent with improving their children’s grades. Wallace implemented a program in 2013 at Shandon High School that requires students to meet with teachers weekly to discuss how they can improve their performance in the classroom, something that sources say some teachers are against.

Under Wallace’s leadership, Shandon High School became accredited in 2012.

Board members refused to discuss the firing Tuesday, citing privacy concerns and California’s open meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act.

Tuesday’s board meeting at Shandon High School drew a standing room only crowd, despite beginning at 4:45 p.m., an hour and 15 minutes before the usual meeting time of 6 p.m. Board members said they changed the time because it was an emergency meeting.

At the start of the meeting, the board allowed just 20 minutes of public comment, 10 minutes each for supporters and detractors of Wallace. After returning from closed session, the board reopened public comment.

Two current students and one former student spoke in favor of Wallace.

One speaker who opposed Wallace said the large crowd supporting the superintendent only came for the pizza and soda. After hearing the comment, a group of parents left the meeting.

Some contractors and employees of the district say their positions are in jeopardy because they have been critical of the firing of the superintendent.

Wallace was superintendent of the Shandon Unified School District for about four years. The district is composed of Shandon Elementary School, Shandon High School and Parkfield Elementary School.


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Does the consequences of telling the truth exemplify a problem with the district? Smells like a bad example that teaches more than words.

This now the new normal with elected officials and taxpayer money.

The school board was ELECTED by the PEOPLE…

The PEOPLE should have a right to know why they voted the way they did.

Mr. Wallace was paid with the PEOPLE’S money…

And the PEOPLE have every right to know how that money is spent.

If Mr.Wallace was fired for CAUSE then the PEOPLE need to know so they can act accordingly with respect to his future employment… too many government employees are terminated because they did something bad one way or another, but the privacy argument allows them to go down the road to future government jobs and have the same problems. AND we have quite a few of those here in SLO county!

If Mr. Wallace’s termination reason was made fully public and the public didn’t see it the same way as the board then the board needs to be FIRED!

Not going to happen nor should it!!

We’re a republic, we elect officials to govern and the reasons for termination MUST be kept confidential. It’s the prerogative of the board to fire “At-Will” contracts as they see fit.

Disclosing the reasons is only subjecting the board to personal injury litigation by the “At-Will” employee.

That’s all we need is a bunch of emotional citizens “beheading” elected officials…you don’t like it, then run for office, write letters, protest, etc you’re free to speak your mind!

That’s our game!!!!

It beats mob rule and dictators.

BTW, I don’t know anything on this issue but what I read here, and if he is as good as everyone says he is then he’s not going to have any problem finding a job somewhere else.

Sounds like more like a political decision than anything else, and he stepped on the wrong toes, or took too many risks without consensus and that’s the price you pay in our system. A 5-0 vote is a VERY clear message that he’s lost the confidence and support of ALL board members!


godislanguage, I share your thoughts exactly. If there’s only one thing I like about running two businesses in the private sector it’s my freedom to cut someone loose for very little pomp or circumstance.

This person obviously wasn’t to cool to work with so they showed him the door…..BOOM….the new hire was already on the wire I’m guessin.

Now let the ranting begin I suppose but, let’s be nice kids!! :)

The law isn’t set up that way. If one of the school board members tells the media why Wallace was fired, there’s a very good chance that slip-up could cost the district a boatload of money.

A similar thing happened up in King City with the police chief on leave for several months out of the blue. The city manager, mayor, councilmembers, etc. couldn’t say anything as to why or else they would be BREAKING THE LAW.

SPECULATION: I’m guessing the Shandon school board members, or at least most of them, would love nothing more than to say why they got rid of the guy, so as not to have to deal with this stuff, but as I said before, doing so would be BREAKING THE LAW.

Following a long, drawn out, and hard to follow series of events, it wraps up with “Forget about it Rodney,

it’s Shandon…” fade to 1950’s again.

Wow, did Irons and his roving band of council cohorts move to Shandon to work their black magic there as well?

A video has been released regarding the recent incident…‎

Sounds like he actually made teachers perform their jobs. That’s a fireable offense these days, but who knows they won’t tell us. Seeing as though the Superintendent works for the people. I think the people have a right to an explanation.

58 kids in a high school… Really, close down the school and bring the kids to Paso and get rid of this type of in fighting. I understand this has a lot to do with the agriculture education at the school. Should be interesting to see who wins on this one!

I concur … it is a total waste of money to have a school district with 58 students. The problem with education today is that there has been “administation inflation” where every superintendent has a slew of assistant superintendents. The more administrators the less there is for the classroom (read kids). All school districts in a county of 5,000,000 population or less should be consolidated under the County Superintendent saving the duplication of payroll departments, purchasing departments, superintendents, etc. When I was in school (no it was not a one room school house) the principal taught a 7/8 combination and my hign school principal taught math, latin, chemestry and physics. I don’t feel that having fewer administrators and more quality teachers short changed me … I was able to get accepted to very good colleges where I was able to achieve two graduate degrees. Obviously, my base education was founded in quality. In this day of computers and instant communication, there is no need to have an “administrator” on every corner … consolidate, rid the system of the excessive overhead, and concentrate on teaching.

There is also a Junior High andtwo Elementary schools.

And your point is ………….

Total of 300 kids in the 4 schools. Great, at what cost? Superintendent , 4 principles, 4 secretaries, other support staff, and teachers. Send them to Paso and save the money!

I see you have no familiarity with Shandon Unified at all. Parkfield Elementary is a one-room schoolhouse with 20 or so kids K-6, with one teacher. One principal is shared between Parkfield Elementary, Shandon Elementary and Shandon Middle School (which is on the Shandon Elementary campus). The superintendent of the district is also the high school principal.

How much money will you save by closing these school sites and busing children to Paso? Keep in mind it’s more than an hour’s drive from Parkfield to Paso, and some students at Parkfield already have a sizable trip just to get to that school. The bus driver would have to leave the bus barn at 4:30 each morning, if not earlier, to make the hour-plus drive to Parkfield, then past Parkfield out to the farthest-out stop, wherever that may be, and head back toward Paso, making all the stops to pick up children, and get the kids to school in Paso by 8. If the Shandon-Parkfield bus gets on the road at 2:45, then you’re talking close to 4 by the time the first Parkfield kid gets off the bus, and perhaps 5 by the time the last one is off the bus (so some kids could be gone for almost 12 hours each day), and then more than an hour of driving back to Paso. Because of laws for how much a bus driver can work in one day, Paso Unified would have to hire all the Shandon bus drivers, plus more drivers, because of all the extra hours on the road. Going to Parkfield via 46 is 40.8 miles one way, and if we assume another 20 miles each trip for going around to the various bus stops, that’s 100 miles per trip, or 200 miles per day, twice a day, with 180 school days per year, so 36,000 miles per year on a bus. A typical rear-engined school bus gets 8 miles to the gallon, so you’re looking at 4,500 gallons of diesel. If you assume $4/gallon for diesel, that’s $18,000 a year in gas — about half of a beginning teacher’s salary. Then the district would need to hire more teachers for the influx of students.

All of that and more from Paso Unified, which was a breath away from being taken over by the state pretty recently because it was broke. Shandon Unified was in better financial shape than Paso, believe it or not.

OK, keep the one room school and one teacher for Parkfield and send the rest to Paso and save lots of money. How many aides, teachers, building maintenance, etc would this save??? Lots!

Obviously. you are a teacher, principle or union rep..

Save those jobs for the union power. There are kids coming in to Paso to St Rose’s, County Christian, etc and they survive.

I’d make a lot more money than I do now if I worked in one of those three occupations.

The difference between the private schools you mentioned and the public schools is that if you can afford to send your kid to a private school, chances are you can also afford the gas to drive into town.

You won’t save anywhere near as much money as you would think by sending Shandon kids to Paso. Paso would have to hire a bunch of teachers and TAs due to the sudden influx of kids. Paso would also have to add rooms to the existing school buildings to take on the extra students… or would have to keep the Shandon schools open to house those children.

All they care about out there is ag and the ffa……mr wallace did not cater to the ffa so they ran him out.


Sounds like a good plan!!!!!

I have never seen such a dysfunctional board in my life! It was like a Jerry springer episode in there last night, teachers and board members acting like little kids…..They should recall the whole board at once. Parents is this the kind of people you want deciding on the issues for your kids? At a previous board meeting one member played on her iPad most of the time while ignoring the meeting that was going on! This is ridiculous.

Well, after all it is Shandon. Heck, they think the last verse of the Star Spangled Banner is… “Gentlemen, start your engines.”

Have you ever been to Shandon Pelican1?

Yes I have, many times. And each time I’m reminded of Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath.

So why was he fired? The detractors had to have said something, anything. Reporting means one asks questions and then the answers are reported. Why leave us guessing?


Maybe, maybe not. There is not yet enough info to tell in this case. Everyone is just speculating wildly except for those who actually made the decision. They have to respect the employee privacy regs or they can be sued big time. This means that unless the superintendent speaks out, they can’t.

So you can speculate about unions and others can speculate about ag program politics. Just for entertainment, I could speculate that he spoke inappropriately with a student or was grossly mismanaging funds. Such speculation is what used to be called WAGs (Wild-A55 Guesses).

This is not true.

Fact: He catered to the students and not the unions. Kids met with teachers on a weekly basis to decide happened this week, what we need to do, any problems, where we go next week.

Result: Grades went up since he has been there and the kids loved him…

Fact: FFA and Agri control the culture of the school, got the best funding, time, etc. He changed it and made them equal, not better.

Result: Teachers got really p***ed off.

And they all lived happily everafter.

I’m confused. How is it you know so little about Shandon Unified in other posts on this page, but apparently know so much about it in this post that you can declare speculation as facts?

Anon is a teacher union representative for the north County and should declare this in his rants which is why he has all the right answers to

serve and protect all teachers, aides, principles, etc… Power to your union, Anon!

I sort of wish I were. I’d make a lot more money than I do now.