Teachers Union criticizes move to end superintendent’s contract early

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s more fallout from the pending dismissal of New Haven schools superintendent Dr. Carol Birks.  News 8 broke the shocking development Thursday evening.  New since then, the president of the New Haven Federation of Teachers, David Cicarella, criticized the board’s apparent decision to show Birks the door.

“It’s gotten to the point where it’s just dysfunctional,” said Cicarella.  “It just seems that it’s awfully early.  We’re a little bit over a year of a three year contract.”   

News 8’s Mario Boone first reported the board still has to officially vote to end Birk’s employment contract.  She has just under two years left on the contract worth more than $450,000.  It’s a price tag Cicarella said the district simply cannot afford.

“There’s not copy paper, pencils, textbooks are becoming out of date,” Cicarella told us.

So, how did we get here?  The drama started before Birks ever stepped foot in New Haven.  In fact, a near brawl erupted between two board members during a November 2017 split vote to hire Birks.  And, the hits kept coming after she arrived, including clashes with the politically divided board over how to reverse a $30 million budget deficit and two controversial plans to cut unnecessary positions.

Board president Darnell Goldson declined to speak on camera.  He released a statement saying, “Superintendent Dr. Birks is an employee of the New Haven Public Schools system and as such deserves the same treatment and respect as any other employee would.  As a result, I cannot and will not comment on any reports which are circulating throughout the community or the press related to her employment status.”

The teachers union said it’s worried quality superintendent candidates won’t be interested in New Haven.

“Who’s gonna want to step into this?”

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