St. Paul Superintendent Valeria Silva is on her way out, the district seemed to confirm Wednesday.
The polarizing superintendent's departure is a long time coming. When Silva inherited St. Paul Schools in 2009, she implemented some radical changes with drastic results.
Believing that designated classrooms for special education students were inherently inferior to regular classes, Silva eliminated them entirely.
Kids in need of extra help with language barriers, cognitive disorders, or behavior were dispersed to mainstream teachers who received little backup to tackle their new responsibilities.
Silva also strongly discouraged suspending students for any reason, but didn't provide schools with much alternative recourse to discipline the few troublemakers who bullied each other or cussed out adults.
Throughout the past year, minor discipline issues that went unheeded ballooned into several large brawls and serious assaults on teachers who tried to intervene. When a Harding High School student arrived at on campus with a loaded gun in October, he said he'd done it because he was afraid for his safety.
Meanwhile, teachers complained that those who spoke out against Silva's leadership were invariably investigated, placed on routine "administrative leave," and terminated.
Despite growing discontent with the superintendent's performance, former members of the St. Paul school board renewed Silva's contract in March 2015 for another three years. It was revealed shortly after that she was looking to leave St. Paul the whole time — by applying for superintendent of schools in Palm Beach County, Florida. Silva eventually stepped out of the race when criticism grew.
In November 2015, partially invigorated by Silva's new three-year contract, St. Paul teachers organized to displace four incumbents from the school board.
Now, the new school board has confirmed rumors that Silva may be offered a buyout soon.
"Superintendent Silva’s most recent contract outlines various transition options and the accompanying obligations of the district, in the event Superintendent Silva transitions out as superintendent," wrote spokesman Ryan Vernosh in a statement. "The board and Superintendent Silva are presently exploring those options."
The school board declined to say anything further.