Central Falls Teachers Vote No Confidence in Gallo
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The vote was 244 to 8 in favor of no confidence.
The vote took place after a series of GoLocalProv investigative reports on the management of the district. Last week, GoLocalProv reported that three administrators who had not been at work in months were still collecting paychecks. And a report earlier this week focused on teacher concerns about escalating violence in the schools.
Teachers took the vote because constant turnover in administrators, concerns over the working environment, and fears of retaliation by the administration, according to Jane Sessums, the union president.
‘Enough is enough’
The vote comes one year after Gallo fired all teachers at Central Falls High School, when the district and teachers could not agree to a reform plan for the struggling school. Gallo later rehired the teachers, but tensions have remained and even grown worse over the course of the past year—culminating in tonight’s vote.
“Enough is enough,” said one Central Falls High School teacher. “Gallo’s mismanagement, erratic behavior, fiduciary mismanagement and lack of support for her teachers and out and out hatred for her teaching staff came through.”
‘A dramatic and drastic step’
State Senator John Tassoni, D-Smithfield, told GoLocalProv that he believes the vote sends a “strong message.” Last week, Tassoni himself called for the ouster of Gallo.
“It’s a dramatic and drastic step,” said Frank Flynn, the head of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers. He said he could recall only one other time a local union held a vote of no confidence in its superintendent, which happened in North Kingstown. That superintendent later left.
Circumstances are quite different in Central Falls, where the school board is one of only two in the state that is appointed, not elected. (The other appointed board is in Providence.) The Central Falls school board, in turn, is chosen by the Board of Regents, who are appointed by the Governor. Given those factors, removing Gallo could be more difficult, Flynn said.
Gallo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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