- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - The three interim school administrators in the city of Burlington resigned their posts Friday because of what they said was tension with the School Board.

Burlington’s acting superintendent Stephanie Phillips and senior administrators Paul Irish and Nikki Fuller said they were stepping down from the additional responsibilities they took on earlier this year after the resignation of the previous superintendent.

“We have made this decision because the political climate and turmoil exhibited by this board make it impossible for us to take genuine efforts to rebuild and restore the district,” Phillips said at a news conference.

Phillips said the board had been disrespectful, lacked understanding and discounted the administrators’ professional abilities.

School Board Chairman Patrick Halladay late Friday afternoon responded to the resignations.

“We were attempting as much as possible to make their tenure in these interim roles fully supported. We’re disappointed they felt the situation was otherwise,” Halladay said.

Rebecca Holcombe, the state’s secretary of education, responded to the turmoil in the schools of Vermont’s largest city by saying the “Burlington School District Board needs to put aside any individual agendas, and put the focus back on kids and putting in place the people and processes that will enable the schools and students to thrive.”

Holcombe offered praise for the administrators who stepped down Friday. “”We offer our profound thanks to the staff who have kept the schools running and are working hard for the benefit of the students, despite the turnover,” she said.

Phillips, the district’s curriculum director, became interim superintendent after the June departure of former superintendent Jeanne Collins.

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