Board terminates Selma Unified's superintendent

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Board terminates Selma Unified's superintendent
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Selma Unified's superintendent was terminated by the school board on Tuesday night.

SELMA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Selma Unified's superintendent was terminated by the school board on Tuesday night. An overflowing crowd stood outside for hours to find out the future of the school leader and demand more transparency from board leaders.

Mark Sutton has been the superintendent in Selma for seven years. Late last week, the board president called for a special meeting to consider terminating his contract. Many are upset the district will now have to pay Sutton more than $250,000 for letting him go.

At the public hearing, parents, teachers and community members argued Sutton deserved to stay as superintendent because of his accomplishments including improving students test scores.

"You were voted by the people. The people's voice is talking to you right now. The city of Selma is talking to you right now. They are saying we don't want Mark Sutton to go," said Gerald Hops, a supporter.

An overwhelming majority backed Sutton, and when the board voted to release him from his contract, they were angry.

District leaders say board President John Lorona called the special meeting to vote on whether Sutton is disciplined, dismissed or released from his contract. Lorona would not comment, calling this a personnel matter. But Sutton's supporters believe he just didn't get along with the now former school leader.

"It's embarrassing. Why? Because someone is choosing to be vindictive. Shame on you. Shame, shame, shame," said Harpreet Purewal, a supporter.

Assistant superintendent Larry Teixeira said the district is expected to buy out the remainder of Sutton's $260,000 contract. Although he wouldn't comment on the specifics of the vote, he said Sutton was not being investigated for doing anything illegal.

"Nothing has gone wrong. There's been no allegations whatsoever," said Teixeira.

We heard one person in the crowd who was happy about the decision to remove the superintendent because he says Sutton is not a good leader. Sutton said he would not comment about Tuesday's decision on camera

At this point it's unclear who will act as the interim superintendent. We should learn more about that decision at another board meeting next week.