Conn. Court: Judge Wrong To Order Vallas Ouster
The Connecticut Supreme Court has overturned the ruling of a judge who ordered Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas removed from his job because he wasn't qualified.
Vallas, however, already has decided to leave the post to be Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate for the 2014 election. Vallas previously led school districts in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans.
Critics of Vallas sued him over his credentials in April. Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled in July that Vallas improperly received a waiver to state certification requirements for school superintendents, saying an educational leadership course he took to receive the waiver wasn't adequate.
The Supreme Court overturned the ruling, saying Bellis lacked jurisdiction because the plaintiffs didn't bring their challenge of Vallas' credentials to state education officials first.
Meanwhile, Vallas has not set a date for his departure to run for lieutenant governor of Illinois next year.
Vallas told the Board of Education Tuesday night he and school officials must discuss when his 60-day notice should begin, The Connecticut Post reports.
"The clock will start ticking when the board decides it should tick," he said. "Do not underestimate my time or ability to focus my attention on Bridgeport."
Board member Maria Pereira was dissatisfied with Vallas' lack of specificity.
"To me it was a letter of resignation without an ending on it," she said. "His focus needs to be on this district."
Sauda Baraka, a school board member who won re-election on Nov. 5, asked Vallas if he would give the board a letter indicating the 60-day start date.
Vallas said that would be up to the new board, which will comprise four new members elected last week and five returning board members.
"I am trying to give them flexibility," he said.
The school board elections gave control to critics who want Vallas out. He said the election showed a desire to eliminate vestiges of state control of Bridgeport's schools and change superintendents.
Vallas was hired as superintendent after the elected school board was replaced by another appointed by the state. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled the move illegal.
Vallas, a former Chicago schools chief, was selected last week by Gov. Pat Quinn to be his 2014 running mate.