Tommy Chang will soon be officially out as superintendent of Boston Public Schools, saying in a brief statement Friday, “I am in active negotiations with the Boston School Committee for a mutual parting of ways.”
“He hasn’t been here very long so that is going to be disruptive once again to the district,” said Gretchen Lahey, a parent at the Hernandez School.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he has had "several conversations" with Chang about the future, and that they agreed there was a need for "a change in leadership" within the school district.
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"In order to successfully implement our education agenda, we need a long-term education leader with a proven record in management who can gain the confidence of the community on the strategic vision for the district and execute on the many initiatives that have been identified as priorities for our students and schools," Walsh said in a statement.
Chang’s three-year tenure was marked by several controversies, including racial tension at Boston Latin, an IRS audit into financial issues, and an attempt at changing school and bus times that left many parents angry.
“The school start and stop times and the bus routes both seemed like pretty big fails,” said Liz McMahon, a parent at Conley Elementary.
More recently, attorneys with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice filed a lawsuit Thursday against Chang and the school system, after school officials allegedly sent information about a student to ICE. That student ended up being deported.
“To us this was outrageous,” said attorney Matt Cregor.
The lawsuit is seeking records involving how much information the school system may be sharing with federal immigration authorities.
Cregor does not know if the lawsuit was the final straw for Chang.
“I think if a city is solving a records request by firing a superintendent or forcing his resignation we’ve got more problems on our hands,” said Cregor.
Boston Teachers Union described their relationship with Chang as "collaborative" over the years.
"He showed a clear commitment to elevating important conversations about race and equity, and it was clear he cared deeply about the students we serve," the union said in a statement.
Chang sent out a farewell letter to staff and families on Friday night, highlighting the progress that has happened during his three-year tenure as superintendent.
"It has been my great honor to serve the youth of Boston and I am proud of the work we’ve done together over the last three years," Chang said in part. "On the Nation’s Report Card, in numerous areas, Boston has been one of only a handful of districts that have made progress."
Chang said he is grateful to the people of Boston and that he is inspired daily by the city's youth. He also thanked Mayor Walsh for having faith in him to lead the school district and serve the city's students and their families.
Walsh will name an interim superintendent within the next week, two city government sources told The Boston Globe.