Supporters rally around ousted Central USD superintendent

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Supporters are now rallying around a now-former superintendent at Central Unified after his sudden firing last night. Some are even threatening the school board.

The move leaves the district without a leader and a deeply conflicted school board, and community. The statement by School Board President Cesar Granda laid out how Central Unified School District Superintendent Mike Sutton will be terminated.

RELATED: Central Unified Board votes to terminate superintendent's contract

"We will provide him that written notice and then after that, he's on paid administrative leave for those ten days. After those ten days, he will be terminated, and we will be paying out to June 30th. So we're gonna (sic) be honoring his contract," said Granda.

Word the popular superintendent was being let go after three years disappointed many at Tuesday night's school board meeting. Community members like Eric Engleman, whose four children all attended Central Unified Schools, says the board is not listening.

"They just went off and made a decision, not considering anything that the community wanted," said Engleman.

The decision to terminate Sutton came on a four to three vote -- without explanation. This secrecy has prompted a recall effort against two board members. Board President Cesar Granda refused to explain the reason for Sutton's termination.

"I'm making a business decision based on information," said Granda.

Granda says because it's a closed session personnel matter he can't comment.

Sutton said he can't say anything just yet. Though immediately removed from his job, he is on the district payroll until his contract runs out at the end of June.

One of the board members who supports him, Terri Cox, says with the recall effort, Mr. Sutton may not be gone for long.

"I think there has been conversation in the community the board faces will change over the year. And with that, Mr. Sutton may be back," said Cox.

The board plans a meeting on March 6th to discuss retaining an interim superintendent.
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