Updated:
Original:

St. Paul schools will spend more than $700,000 to change superintendents early

Author:

Six months into her three-year contract, St. Paul's school superintendent is on the way out.

The school board approved a separation agreement with Superintendent Valeria Silva on a 5-2 vote Tuesday night.

Board Chair Jon Schumacher said in a statement: "...transitioning to new leadership now rather than in 2018 will ensure the ever-changing needs of our students are met."

Silva's last day as superintendent is July 18. She will stay on as an adviser to the district through Sep. 30, 2017, and will help interim superintendent John Thein through a transition period. Thein recently retired as superintendent of the Roseville area schools.

The change in leadership comes at a price. As the Pioneer Press reports, Silva's salary and benefits bring the cost of the separation agreement to $787,500 through Oct. 1, 2019.

https://twitter.com/JohnCroman/status/745425130071851009

Why the breakup?

MinnPost wrote last summer that the November school board election may well be a referendum on Silva's leadership, and that seems to have proved true.

During the month before that election, board members approved Silva's new three-year contract in a 6-1 vote. Four of the six who backed Silva were up for re-election.

A group called "Caucus for Change" – supported by the political education committee of the St. Paul teacher's union – campaigned for a slate of four challengers. One of their criticisms was that discipline had become a problem, especially since the district made changes to reduce student suspensions.

All four incumbents were defeated by the challengers in November and tension between Silva and the new majority on the board was evident from their first meeting together.

The just-ended school year also saw a surge in student violence against teachers and the threat of a strike unless the district did more to ensure teacher safety.

Board member resigns

After the separation agreement with Silva was approved, one of the school board members resigned. Jean O'Connell (right) cited a disrespectful environment on the board, the Star Tribune reports, and accused Schumacher of "questionable leadership," charging that he worked in secret to arrange Silva's ouster.

As soon as her departure was approved, the district posted a page highlighting Silva's 6 1/2 years as superintendent.

Tackling the gap in educational achievement between white and minority students was a priority of Silva's and her work on that issue was recognized by the board and in public comments during Tuesday night's meeting, the Pioneer Press says.

Silva spent 25 years in the St. Paul district before she became superintendent.

According to a profile in St. Cloud State University's alumni magazine, Silva spoke little English when she arrived in Minnesota from her native Chile. The university presented her with a distinguished alumni award in 2011.

Next Up

Union Gospel Mission graffiti side by side - Duluth PD

Vandals target longstanding Duluth soup kitchen, transitional housing site

Union Gospel Mission has been operating in the city since 1922.

i-94 crash st. michael - 2021.10.19

At least 1 dead after 'serious crash' on I-94 in St. Michael

That side of the highway is expected to be closed for at least a few hours.

House for sale

The crazy Twin Cities housing market is showing signs of slowing down

Agents are seeing fewer multiple offers and no inspections are less prevalent.

Ben Simmons

Simmons' reunion with 76ers lasts mere days, chance for Wolves?

Woj says the Sixers remain "steadfast" in their plans for Simmons.

mitchell ottinger

Sub teacher involved in 'sextortion' of more than 10 minors pleads guilty

Some of the minors he knew from the school district where he worked.

flickr ice castles new brighton 2020 - Greg Gjerdingen

The Ice Castles, a winter favorite, are coming back to the Twin Cities

The popular attraction was canceled last winter due to COVID.

joey meatballs

4 new vendors coming to Rosedale's POTLUCK food hall

Three restaurants and a VR company are opening soon.

flickr - Lorie Shaull - Line 3 pipeline Palisade July 2021

Enbridge misses deadline to fix its groundwater blunder

The company had 30 days to stop the leak it caused by not following its submitted plans.

wikimedia commons - the beach boys 2019 - joergens.mi

Beach Boys bringing 2021 holiday tour to Minnesota

The iconic band's "Holiday Harmonies" tour stops at Treasure Island just before the new year.

pixabay - us supreme court

MN, WI attorneys general push SCOTUS to block to Texas abortion law

They say the law is in "direct contravention of nearly a half century of binding precedent."

Related

unsplash - school girl students

List of St. Paul schools that could close, merge with others under new plan

The district is looking to address coming enrollment and funding issues.