East San Jose school superintendent abruptly fired
The Alum Rock Union School District board of trustees unexpectedly fired Superintendent Hilaria Bauer on March 14, 2024. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

The Alum Rock Union School District board voted to fire longtime Superintendent Hilaria Bauer after returning from closed session. 

The board voted 3-2 to end her contact on Thursday night, with Trustees Linda Chavez, Minh Pham and Andres Quintero voting in favor and Corina Herrera-Loera and Andrea Flores Shelton opposing it. Bauer’s last day is March 25. 

“At last night’s board meeting the board of trustees made a unilateral decision to end the employment relationship between the district and the superintendent,” Herrera-Loera, board president, told San José Spotlight. “That decision was made after much consideration and deliberation.”

The Alum Rock Union School District board surprised the community when it ended its contract with Superintendent Hilaria Bauer. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

Herrera-Loera thanked Bauer on behalf of the district for her service to the Alum Rock schools community and to the students and families it serves. She said in the coming days and weeks, the board will be meeting to discuss the process for the selection of a new superintendent.

“We encourage and welcome all community stakeholders to become engaged in this process, so that together we can continue to support our students and families and strengthen our community, ” Herrera-Loera told San José Spotlight.

Bauer was hired in 2014. The district extended an additional three years to her contract in 2019, hoping her leadership would bring transparency and better ethical practices to the embattled school district.

Michael Wright, ARUSD intervention specialist, didn’t find that to be the case. He was dissatisfied with Bauer’s leadership. Wright said he agreed with the board’s decision to end Bauer’s contract and move the district in a new direction.

“We need a leader that understands the needs of our community,” he told San José Spotlight. “The community spoke up and the board listened.”

Ruby Arias was one among many parents whose children are attending Aptitud Community Academy at Goss. The school was on the potential chopping block and parents were calling for the superintendent to be fired. Arias said the board made the right call.

“Nothing was getting done or heard all the time she was here,” she told San José Spotlight. “She prioritized other stuff when it came to making decisions instead of trying to find solutions. It’s time to find the right fit for the position; someone who actually can dedicate time and effort to help the community and not just (make) promises.”

Trustee Pham said the decision to terminate the superintendent was done with a heavy heart.

“It is not a joyful decision,” he said. “Unfortunately that’s the only power a school board has in regards to a superintendent, and unfortunately the vote happened the way it did.”

Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected].

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