The Connecticut Supreme Court will decide the fate of ousted Bridgeport schools Superintendent Paul Vallas, the chief justice announced Tuesday.

Vallas was determined by a lower court judge last month to not be qualified to run Bridgeport’s schools — the state’s largest public school system.

In announcing Chief Justice Chase Rogers’ decision for the high court to hear the case, her clerks informed the lawyers involved that she would need to hear “compelling reasons and specifics for not assigning this case during the September term,” which is Sept. 16-27.

This decision means that the school system’s 21,000 students and thousands of teachers will head back to school without a clear leader.

Steven D. Ecker, who represents Vallas, said thecourt’s timetable works for him.

“Delay could work an injustice… We are looking at moving as quickly as possible,” he said.

It’s unclear when the courts may rule on whether Vallas will be able to stay in office while this legal battle plays out. Lawyers are required to submit their agruments for the court to consider by the end of July. Ecker said he is expecting an answer in early August. 

This is the second time in two years that the state Supreme Court has been asked to step in and resolve leadership issues surrounding the Bridgeport school system. In 2012, the court ruled that the state overstepped when throwing out of office the locally elected board and appointing a new school board.

Carmen Lopez, who filed the lawsuit to oust Vallas, said Tuesday that she believes the high court will rule in her favor.

“I am confident that the Supreme Court will once again uphold the law… We have laws in Connecticut,” she said.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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