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School district mum on Roosevelt Elementary principal’s resignation

October 2, 2018

Life is getting back to normal at Roosevelt Elementary School.

Through its Teddy Trek drive, the parent-teacher group has raised $14,000 for extracurricular supplies at the South Hill School, and popular former principal Matthew Henshaw is back in charge after a four-year absence.

But there’s one nagging question: what happened to first-year principal Laura Franks, who suddenly resigned without explanation on Sept. 17?

“We have not been told anything,” PTG vice-president Jinny Piskel said when contacted on Monday. “Many parents have inquired, but the district hasn’t told us anything.”

Likewise, Spokane Public Schools declined Monday to comment on the matter.

“As a personnel matter, the district’s practice has been to communicate the transition only,” Brian Coddington, the district’s director of community relations, said in an email.

Only three months ago, Franks moved to Spokane after a 20-year career in school administration in southern California.

On the first day of school in Aug. 30, Franks greeted students and parents at the front door of the school on 14th Avenue.

“I’m excited, the parents are excited and I think it’s going to be a great year,” Franks said at the time.

Less than three weeks later, Franks turned in her resignation. Roosevelt parents were notified of the resignation the next day by voicemail.

Henshaw, the district’s elementary school curriculum director, was on board three days later, at the same post he held earlier in the decade.

“Everyone is very happy that the district provided him, and we’re hopeful that things are going back to normal,” Piskel said.

However, parents are still seeking an explanation for Franks’ departure.

“I’d really like to know what happened,” Piskel said. “We’re all very curious as to what happened because it was such an abrupt departure.

Meanwhile, Henshaw’s district position “will be absorbed” by other personnel, Coddington said.

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