Alberto Carvalho backed out of an agreement to become New York City Schools Chancellor, deciding to remain Superintendent of the Miami-Dade public school system. Carvalho committed to taking the job and an announcement had reportedly been planned for next week.
"The decision that I have made about that position, is however a decision that I can no longer sustain. I am breaking an agreement between adults to honor an agreement and a pact that I have with the children of Miami," Carvalho said to applause at a Board of Education meeting.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Carvalho accepted the job two weeks ago and the two had spoken on Wednesday. The mayor said they had begun discussing the next steps.
"So you can imagine how surprised I was to get a phone call from him," Mayor de Blasio said.
Carvalho was expected to say at the Board of Education meeting that he was leaving Miami-Dade for New York City. However, after hearing from students, Carvalho asked for two separate breaks and said he couldn't announce his decision before speaking with Mayor de Blasio. Carvalho then announced he wouldn't take the chancellor's job.
"I underestimated the emotional tug, the level of commitment, the power that crying members of the community have had on me," Carvalho said.
Carvalho called it the second most difficult decision of his life, following his leaving his native Portugal. He said he made the decision against his personal best interest.
"The chancellor's position in New York City is the most coveted job in education. The chancellor's position in New York City is the most impactful position that shapes and molds the future of education in America, 1.1 million students," Carvalho said.
De Blasio said he's hired many people during his more than four years as mayor and has never had a situation like this before. He said a nationwide search for a new chancellor has resumed. He promised there would be an announcement soon, saying he remains confident in the school system.
Whoever the new schools chancellor is, they will replace Carmen Farina. She has held the job since Mayor de Blasio took office.
Before the mayor spoke and after Carvalho's announcement, City Hall Press Secretary Eric Phillips responded on Twitter.
"He was a Yes for a week+, until he was a No 15 minutes ago. Bullet dodged," Phillips tweeted.
"Who would ever hire this guy again? Who would ever vote for him," Phillips asked in a following tweet.
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