The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education in a 3-2 vote opted to fire Superintendent Dr. Ramona Bishop during its March 15 board meeting. Exercising the “no cause” clause of Bishop’s contract, Vallejo School Board Trustees offered little to no reason for her termination.
As Superintendent, Bishop showed concrete financial success bringing the district out of state receivership in 2013, raising district graduation rate from 54 to 73.8 percent and establishing initiatives such as the Science Technology Education, Arts and Mathematics program in middle schools and the College/Career Preparatory Wall to Wall Academies.
According to a district newsletter, Vallejo schools also showed significant decreases in suspension rates and narrowed the academic achievement gap according to the new California Accountability Dash Board. During the board meeting, several members of the community demanded to know the reason behind Bishop’s firing.
Rosalind Hines, the principal of Hogan Middle School, wanted to see evidence of Bishop’s failures.
“Where did she fail?” she said.
Many Bishop supporters implied there was a racial element to the conflict she faced. Some Bishop supporters accused board members of not following proper procedures regarding her termination.
However, Dr. Robert Schussel, a community member, said the public needed to respect the decision of the board.
Other Bishop supporters questioned the logic of terminating a superintendent in the middle of the school year. The district now has to pay out the remaining $187,500 of Bishop’s contract plus health benefits and the salary of her replacement.
Carmen Rivera, a vice principal at Jesse Bethel High School, said the board members do not represent many members of the community.
“You do not look like us,” said Rivera.