Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
School & District Management

State Court Ruling Adds Fresh Twist to Bridgeport Saga

By Christina A. Samuels — March 07, 2012 1 min read

School board or not, no problem, says Paul G. Vallas, the former Philadelphia and New Orleans schools chief who accepted an interim appointment to run the 20,000-student Bridgeport, Conn., school district.

In an interview, he said changes are continuing in the struggling school system despite a state Supreme Court ruling last week that said Connecticut’s takeover of the district was invalid.

“It wasn’t unexpected,” Mr. Vallas said.

On Feb. 28, the court overturned the state takeover, saying Connecticut failed to follow the law by not retraining the school board before seizing control of the district. The required retraining is aimed at helping school boards improve their operations as a last step before resorting to state takeover.

The district’s school board had voted 6-3 in July to turn the district, among the state’s least-affluent and lowest-performing, over to state control. But board members on the losing end of that vote challenged the decision.

The ruling means that Bridgeport must hold a special school board election, and the state-appointed board will serve until that elected board is certified.

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch called the state Supreme Court decision a “narrow and technical ruling” and a setback for the city’s children, the Associated Press reported.

But Mr. Vallas, in an interview, said he has already made progress paring down the district’s debt and plans to introduce an academic reform plan by the end of this month.

“The bottom line for me is, on March 26, our balanced five-year budget plan will be done, and we will be presenting to the community a reform plan we think will be strongly embraced,” he said. The court ruling “is a speed bump,” he added.

But he said observers should not expect the reform plan to look exactly like the Recovery School District that took over most of the schools in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and turned them into charters.

“We’re going to do a combination of things to improve these schools,” Mr. Vallas said, “transforming existing schools as well as reconstituting some.”

A version of this article appeared in the March 08, 2012 edition of Education Week as State Court Ruling Adds Fresh Twist to Bridgeport Saga

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Special Education Teachers
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools

Read Next

School & District Management Student Mental Health and Learning Loss Continue to Worry Principals
Months into the pandemic, elementary principals say they still want training in crucial areas to help students who are struggling.
3 min read
Student sitting alone with empty chairs around her.
Maria Casinos/iStock/Getty
School & District Management Opinion A Road Map for Education Research in a Crisis
Here are five basic principles for a responsible and timely research agenda during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Robin J. Lake
4 min read
Two opposing sides reaching out to work together
J.R. Bee for Education Week
School & District Management 1,000 Students, No Social Distancing, and a Fight to Keep the Virus Out
A principal describes the "nightmare" job of keeping more than 1,000 people safe in the fast-moving pandemic.
4 min read
Dixie Rae Garrison, principal of West Jordan Middle School, in West Jordan, Utah.
Dixie Rae Garrison, principal of West Jordan Middle School in West Jordan, Utah, would have preferred a hybrid schedule and other social distancing measures.
Courtesy of Dixie Rae Garrison
School & District Management A School Leader Who Calls Her Own Shots on Battling the Coronavirus
A charter school founder uses her autonomy to move swiftly on everything from classroom shutdowns to remote schooling.
3 min read
Nigena Livingston, founder and head of School at the URBAN ACT Academy in Indianapolis, Ind.
Nigena Livingston, founder and head of school at the URBAN ACT Academy in Indianapolis, makes swift decisions in responding to the threat of COVID-19 in her school community.
Courtesy of Nigena Livingston