School & District Management

Judge Affirms Paul Vallas’ Exit From Bridgeport Superintendency

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — July 10, 2013 1 min read
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Paul Vallas, former superintendent of school districts in Philadelphia, Chicago, and of Louisiana’s Recovery School District, is the former superintendent of the school district in Bridgeport, Conn., too, a judge affirmed this afternoon.

Late last month, superior court judge Barbara Bellis ruled that Vallas must leave the district’s top post because he has not completed a leadership course and received a certification required to become a superintendent in the state. Vallas completed a course designed specifically for him at the University of Connecticut, but it required fewer hours than the standard course.

The Connecticut Post reports that the judge ruled in a hearing this afternoon that Vallas should not remain in his position while the previous court ruling is appealed. The judge said that it would cause less harm to the city—which is home to the state’s largest school district—if Vallas leaves the job now, the Post reports.

The initial decision that Vallas is not qualified to be the district’s superintendent is still being appealed.

“We’re disappointed, but not surprised, by today’s decision. As a highly experienced superintendent, Mr. Vallas’ qualifications for this position are clear. We look forward to the appeal and hope that the final outcome of the legal process will serve the best interest of Bridgeport’s schools and students,” said Kelly Donnelly, a spokeswoman for Connecticut’s department of education.

Vallas’ supporters had rallied to support him after the judge’s initial ruling, saying that he brought a wealth of experience to the beleaguered district that trumped the need for certification. Opponents cheered the judge’s ruling, according to the Post.

The original suit against Vallas was brought by Carmen Lopez, a former judge and an activist in Bridgeport.

No word yet on who will be Bridgeport’s next superintendent.

The Post reports that lawyers for the city of Bridgeport have requested that the state’s Supreme Court review the case quickly, which means that Vallas has an additional 10 days.

Photo: Paul Vallas in a 2008 file photo.
--Bill Haber/AP-File

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.