Yesterday, the Connecticut Supreme Court released a statement saying it would reinstate a stay in the decision that Paul Vallas could no longer serve as superintendent of Bridgeport Schools. That stay allows Vallas to continue working until the Court reaches a decision on the appeal, which might not be until after the 2013-2014 school year.
The Court’s statement came hours after Carmen Lopez’s lawyers, Kevin Smith and Norman Pattis, filed an 11-page statement arguing against reinstating a stay. They argued that Vallas’ chances of winning are slim; the district would not be harmed by immediate termination; and that there is a “strong management team” already in place that could pick up the slack.
On July 10th, Judge Barbara Bellis – who heard the initial trial – went against convention and removed the automatic stay, requiring Vallas be immediately dismissed from his post as superintendent. On the following Friday, lawyers representing Vallas filed motions with the Supreme Court seeking to overturn both the decision to oust the superintendent and the removal of the stay.
According to an article in the Courant the motion filed by Vallas’ attorney argued that “there was no evidence of any actual identifiable harm to anyone that would arise if the stay remains in place pending appeal.”
Jon Pelto, Former rep/former consultant/ now education advocate and blogger, wrote in a post last night that the decision was both “disturbing and a bit suspicious,” implying that the decision’s timing was suspect, but then moved on to say that the real issue was whether or not Vallas broke the law, which is yet to be determined.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, school board chairmen Moales commented to the CT Post last night that the Court’s decision to reinstate the stay ‘gives the district and Vallas time to open schools, and send a message to parents that everything is moving forward. “Among those schools is Fairchild Wheeler High School, an inter-district multi-magnet with a focus on science and technology – still under construction but set to open this coming school year.
The stay allows Vallas to keep his position until a final decision is made by state’s Supreme Court. Arguments are set to start in September between the 16th and 23rd, but it could take up to eight months before a decision is passed down.