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"I'm Staying," Dade Supt. Carvalho Backs Out Of NY Offer

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - He's staying!

Tensions rose after it was learned that Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was offered the position of school chancellor for New York City Public Schools, the nation's fourth-largest school district.

"I know no matter what I do today, it shall be loved by some and hated by others, it shall be exalted by some and diminished by others, it shall be criticized by some and praised by others," said Carvalho said during an emergency School Board meeting.

Carvalho thanked New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for naming his the new chancellor but did not say if he had accepted.

"I believe in a promise of education. I believe in a promise of Miami," he said.

He then called on the Board and district to continue the hard work they've been doing for years. He also called for the hardening schools and was against the idea of arming teachers, saying it was not their job.

"We talk about respecting teachers but instead of arming them with what they need, we ask them to do things that they never signed up to do," he said.

He also called for raises in teacher salaries.

"We have done a lot but we have not done enough. I didn't sleep much last night. My beloved Miami community I want to do right. I'm a man of honor and dignity and word," he said.

Carvalho received a vote of confidence from the Board. He then stopped short of announcing his decision. He said had made his decision but he first had to speak with the man who made him the offer and explain his decision.

"I do not believe I can announce it now without dishonoring the person who made this appointment. With that said, I think I've been very clear about where I stand in this community, very clear with what my intention is, very appreciative of the sentiment of Miami-Dade," he said.

Carvalho then got up and left the chamber. A short time later, he returned.

"This is the second most difficult decision of my life, the first was leaving my country," he said.

He then announced he's staying.

"I underestimated the emotional tug, the level of commitment, the power that crying members of the community have had on me. Madam Chair, against probably my personal best interest, I am making a decision and announcing a decision today. After speaking with the Honorable Mayor Bill de Blasio that I shall remain in Miami-Dade as your Superintendent," he said.

The crowd erupted in cheers.

"I am breaking an agreement between adults to honor an agreement and a pact I have with the children of Miami," he said.

Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Carvalho said in calls with de Blasio they ended their agreement amicably.

"He expressed to me that he was sorry that our brief friendship did not have a chance to evolve. We connected at many levels. Every single point I spoke of today - empowerment of people, the right of immigrants, our position on firearms, our position on arming teachers, our position on elevating teachers salaries, our position on the value of the voice of youth. Everything was so synchronized that we felt like kindred spirits," he said. "There is no anger, obviously there's expressed sadness and disappointment. I am saddened and disappointed that I may have let down the aspirations and the hopes of the great city of New York."

Carvalho tweeted out:

But not everyone was good with his decision.

For example, de Blasio's press secretary Eric Phillips.

At the start of the meeting, several of the Board members praised his work and several implored him to stay and finish the work they started.

"I believe this Superintendent has been an exceptional Superintendent. He has taken the district to heights that 20 years ago were only dreamed of," said Board member Dr. Marta Pérez. "He has taken the district to the number one urban school district in the United States."

Carvalho made history last year with not one "F" school and has taken the system to a record graduation rate.

Pérez said Carvalho has provided leadership to the district and performed a very difficult job with strength and grace. She said he was able to convince the voters to raise taxes to help the school district where a lesser superintendent would have failed.

Board member Lubby Navarro said she remembers the grim days for the School Board and school administration, the scandals that rocked it, and the eyes of the community that watched as they tried to save the district. Navarro said she was with a different government agency when she heard that the board was considering bring Carvalho on as Superintendent, she texted him congratulations. She said that's when she decided to back.

Ten years ago now when he started his work, well before I left here I remember what was happening here. Let me just say what disgusted me here. The lack of efficiencies, transparency, mismanagement, the malfeasant spending of our money, not having our priorities straight, said Navarro. And then the change, the real work started happening. As soon as he became superintendent, he brought everybody to the room and said 'let's not discuss the budget, no, let's dissect the budget, why are we in the red. Why are we going bankrupt?"

Navarro said it was Carvalho's commitment to the job ahead that enabled him to turn the district around.

"Thank you for the service you have provided, thank you for your dedication, thank you for your commitment, thank you for your love for the children that we serve, and thank you for your love for the educational world as a whole," said Board member Mari Tere Rojas.

A number of business leaders, Miami-Dade County public school alums and current students thanked Carvalho for what he's been able to accomplish and implored the board to do everything in their power to retain him.

"I would never want to hold you back from pursuing your dreams but I don't want to see you go, can I have a hug," said iPrep Academy student Max Sultz.

"To lose this man would be a travesty. I was born and raised in Miami-Dade County, went to Miami-Dade public schools, I was here for the gold plumbing scandals and everything in the world, this man here brought dignity back to that seat. He's brought respect to this. So whatever is going on in this system that is pushing this man out, ya'll need to straighten it out," said Luther Campbell. "Mr. Carvalho you have all of our blessings, but there ain't no place like Miami. New York ain't got nuthin' on us. And I'm going to say this last thing. The Miami Dolphins pushed Dan Marino out and they ain't replace him yet."

Karla Hernandez-Mats, who represents 30,000 employees that work for Miami-Dade Public Schools, thanked Carvalho for his leadership and then shifted her attention to the board.

"This is a critical time. We need a strong voice and we need to be strong and have a bond. You all and the employees of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. I have never seen such a critical time in our state legislature when we are underfunded, when we see attacks from lawmakers, we need someone that is a strong voice as the superintendent currently is on immigration, on gun control, on the underfunding our schools are getting," she said.

Carvalho arrived in the United States at 17 as an undocumented immigrant from Portugal. He went from being a busboy to one of the nation's leading educators with a track record of success.

In 2014 Carvalho was selected as Florida's Superintendent of the Year.

He was also chosen as the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year.

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