State Supreme Court Mulls Vallas Verdict

Sep 25, 2013

Paul Vallas.
Credit The Connecticut Mirror

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of Paul Vallas, the Superintendent of Bridgeport Schools. Vallas is disputing a lower court ruling that he is not qualified for his position. The case centers on a certification waiver that was issued to Paul Vallas when he took up his position as Bridgeport Superintendent. He didn't have the conventional qualifications, but the state's education turnaround efforts allow for people to be recruited from out of state to help failing school districts.

Vallas had previously worked in school districts in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans. He took a brief school leadership course at UConn before being given his waiver. His tenure in the jobs has been marked by controversy. Two Bridgeport residents sued him, saying the UConn course didn't qualify him to take over the district.

That argument was allowed by a lower court, but in the state supreme court Monday, attorney Steven Ecker said it was an issue that should have been raised before the case ever went to court. The plaintiffs weren't particularly interested in making sure Vallas mastered what he needed to master, he argued, or whether he was the appropriate superintendent by training or mastery for Bridgeport. The plaintiffs wanted him out; they were his opponents, he said.

The attorney representing the plaintiffs argued the course took Vallas only a week to complete, and was inadequate to qualify him. The justices have not said when they will issue a ruling in the case.