Flint school board fires Superintendent Derrick Lopez, offers job to interim leader

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 7:25 PM EDT
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(6/26/2020) - Flint Community Schools board members voted to terminate Superintendent Derrick Lopez following a special meeting Thursday night.

Questions surround the vote by the board of education, including why they voted to fire Lopez and what's next for the struggling district.

School leaders have offered very little information about the action, which is part of the problem for some parents with children in Flint schools.

"We should have got an explanation as to why he was terminated, since that's the person that we entrusted with our school system and we entrusted with our kids," said Charmane Taylor. "I think we have a right to know as parents."

Lopez had been on administrative leave for two months while the district conducted a disciplinary investigation before Thursday's vote to terminate him. School leaders have only said the allegations against Lopez were not criminal.

"It seems like before we know it, we have one after another after another after another," Taylor said.

When Lopez started in August 2018, the state told the district it has three years to increase student attendance, reduce out-of-school suspensions and increase math and reading proficiency.

Lopez's termination came almost two years into that three-year contract for the financially strapped district.

"Are people doing things they shouldn't be doing?" Taylor said. "I think we have a right to know that."

Since Lopez went on leave two months ago, Anita Stewart has taken over as interim superintendent. The board last night also voted to offer her the superintendent position permanently, pending contract negotiations.

Parents say transparency and consistency will be important for the next Flint Community Schools leader. But they also want a person who will be there for the kids.

"Somebody that's consistent, loves Flint, a Flint native," said Ondria Sims. "I would prefer and just somebody that's going to do right for the community."

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