St. Paul School Board approves $787,500 buyout of Superintendent Silva

- Even though Valeria Silva was not at Tuesday night's school board meeting, her presence was felt throughout the evening.

The School Board made it official, terminating Silva without cause, after she served as superintendent for six years.

She'll get nearly $800,000 in compensation and benefits, but stay with the district for 15 months to help with the transition to her successor.

"I don't believe the position we are in has anyone on the board happy, but I believe it will push in the direction of the future," school board member Steve Marchese said.

But not every board member was on board with the decision. Jean O'Connell resigned abruptly after the vote to part ways with Silva.

"I am personally taken aback. The current chair and treasurer have worked in secret and frozen other members of this board out of decisions on major issues up to and including the decision to buy out this superintendent. Not only is this questionable governance. It is terrible leadership," O'Connell said. "The environment at this table has become so disrespectful, destructive and cynical, I can no longer be a part of of." 

But Board Chair Jon Schumacher defended the expensive buyout at a time when the district is facing a $15 million budget shortfall, saying Silva was going to leave the at the end of her contract in 2018 anyway.

"We are at a time when we need to make some major changes and we need to look at how we are spending the money. How effective it is. We believe in the long run this will help us save money and allow us to get a jump on some of these challenges we are facing," Schumacher said.

Silva's last day as Superintendent will be July 15.

The board named John Thein who recently retired from Roseville Public Schools as interim superintendent. He served at Roseville for 17 years, and at a news conference on Wednesday, said he has no interest in keeping the position, but he wants to be more than just a seat-warmer.

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