The action came a week after Wilkins was indicted on arson and insurance fraud charges in connection with a leased car on which he was facing $9,000 in excess mileage fees.
In accepting Wilkins’ resignation, which was submitted by letter last Thursday, the board agreed to pay him through June 30, but not to compensate him for unused vacation or sick time, the Press says.
Board members, students and parents all expressed regret over the circumstances.
From the Press:
“He’s been more than a principal to a lot of kids. He should be given an opportunity to come back to school and educate the children,” Gina Reid, mother of four Middle School students, told the board earlier.
Former Middle School student Mena Prown, 17, questioned the wisdom of judging Wilkins before the courts do.
“He’s a great man; he’s kind. I just hope we’re doing the right thing here,” she said.
After the meeting, Reid said she believes that Wilkins would have stayed if the board had been more supportive.
“He doesn’t realize how much support he has. The kids miss him,” she said. “He’s done a lot for our kids.”
Kimberly Patrick said one of her sons, now in college, wanted to to come to the meeting and express his support for his former principal, but had an examination to take.
“They should have let him stay. He would never put the kids in harms way,” Patrick said after the meeting. “He’s provided sneakers to kids so they didn’t have to suffer the humiliation of going without. He’s bought kids ties to wear at graduation. We haven’t had a principal like that in years.”
“Speaking for myself, I will miss him and my family will miss him,” said member Ben Forest. “I’m very upset about what’s happened.”
Parent Krishna Tyler suggested that the board offer counseling for students and that the district make an effort to give students the facts about Wilkins’s resignation to dispel rumors about what’s happened to him.
Morana said that officials will speak to counselors at the Middle School, but said parents should address the issue at home, as well.