State Board of Ed Chair Calls Judge Bellis Out for Overstepping in Vallas Case

Is it up to the courts, or is it up the state? According to the state Board of Education Chair, Allan Taylor, it is most decidedly up to the Education Board and Commissioner

During Monday’s state Board of Education Meeting, the board requested that Attorney General Jepsen speak on their behalf and put a hold on Superintendent Vallas’ job. According to Taylor, this is the “customary and routine procedure” taken in Connecticut. In addition to urging for the hold, Taylor also said that Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis’ decision to oust Vallas last month was overstepping the role of the courts. Taylor said, “The trial court stepped into the role which is confided to this board and the commissioner by statute in ruling as it did.”

Taylor was referring to Connecticut general statue 10-157 which was amended and made effective on July 1st, 2012, after Vallas was already appointed interim Superintendent of Bridgeport Schools. The new amendment changed the probationary period for interim superintendents from 90 days to 1 year. The original statute, however, contained a similar provision which allows for the state education commissioner to waive certification requirements as long as the commissioner deems the applicant “exceptionally qualified for the position”

On Tuesday, a day after the state board meeting, Chief Justice Chase T. Rodgers ruled to take up the city’s petition and hear their appeal case. The hearing is expected to begin early-to-mid September; however, it is still unclear whether Vallas will be allowed to retain his position in the meantime. A decision regarding Vallas’ immediate dismissal may not come down until August, as both sides have 10 days to file motions in the courts.

Additional Sources: Docket No. CV 13-6034307 Carmen Lopez, Et Al v. Bridgeport Board of Education, Et Al., Full video of State Board of Education Chair’s comments 07-15-2013

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