Dallas School Superintendent Fired

Thursday, July 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) — School trustees fired Superintendent Bill Rojas, ending his tenure only a year after he was brought in to turn around the troubled system.

The board's vote Wednesday was 7-1, with trustees claiming the former San Francisco superintendent had violated a contract clause requiring him to maintain ``good rapport'' with them.

The move came after months of infighting that once again shook public confidence in the school system, which has had four chiefs in the past five years.

Rojas, who had earned a base salary of $260,000, the most for any superintendent in the country, had offered last week to resign. But after the vote he threatened to sue, saying the board wrongfully terminated his three-year contract.

``It is just vindictive behavior by a group of micromanagers who have been so accustomed to having their way,'' Rojas told The Dallas Morning News.

Rojas was hired last August to replace Yvonne Gonzalez, who was sentenced to federal prison for embezzling $16,000 in district funds.

Trustees have battled with Rojas over a possible $52 million budget deficit and the hiring of the for-profit Edison Schools Inc. to run several schools.

The district, by firing Rojas, is liable for $90,000 in severance pay.

``We were very deliberate in our actions,'' said school board president Roxan Staff. ``It was not something we did on the spur of the moment or maliciously.'' The board hopes to have a permanent superintendent named by the end of August, Staff said.

Rojas was credited for raising the test scores of blacks and Hispanics during his seven-year tenure as superintendent in San Francisco. Before that, he spent most of his 31-year career in the New York City school system.