All Three Democrats Win Special Election For School Board–Bagley Swishes Minority Party Slot–First Board Meeting Monday Night

Results, top four candidates including absentee ballots, Kelleher 2087, Moales 1929, Illingworth 1842, and Bagley 1368.

All three Democrats Hernan Illingworth, Jacqueline Kelleher and Ken Moales won seats on the Board of Education in Tuesday’s special election that was ordered by the Connecticut Supreme Court after it overturned state control of city schools. The final spot reserved for minority-party representation shows Working Families Party candidate John Bagley, legendary city hoop star, defeating closest rival Republican Joe Borges.

In a citywide voter turnout of about five percent, Democrats Illingworth, Kelleher and Moales won most city precincts including Black Rock, the West Side, North End and East Side. Bagley ran well ahead of Borges to win the fourth open board spot. These results say more about the feeble influence of city Republicans than any organized opposition to state control of city schools that led to the special election. Once again Republicans lost an opportunity to gain a spot on the school board. In November voters will decide in a charter revision question if they want to continue with an elected school board or support Mayor Bill Finch’s proposal for a mayoral-appointed body. The winning Democrats say the results validate the education progress that has taken place during their time as appointed members.

John Bagley
John Bagley wins school board seat running on Working Families Party line.

Bagley will join Maria Pereira and Sauda Baraka as members of the Working Families Party on the school board. Pereira and Baraka had voted in a bloc with Democrat Bobby Simmons prior to the elected board–with the bloc opposing–voting to dissolve itself in favor of state control of city schools in July of last year, a move that was overturned by the Connecticut Supreme Court that led to the special election. Assuming they all hold together this could set the stage for a 5-4 vote on many key school board issues.

Illingworth, Kelleher and Moales, all state-appointed board members, will join Democrats Bobby Simmons, Tom Mulligan and Leticia Colon on the board in addition to Pereira and Baraka. Bagley, the ex Harding High School star and NBA pro, makes the ninth member.

Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa’s absentee ballot operation has also paid off with Democrats winning overwhelmingly.

Based on the results the Democrats achieved their goal of maintaining a majority on the BOE while the Working Families Party has picked up one more seat. Dems had hoped to elect Borges over Bagley in the belief the Republican would be easier to work with on the board. While four seats were available city electors could vote for up to three of the nine candidates with one position reserved for minority-party representation

A large question looms: what will Leticia Colon, also a member of the City Council, do? The City Charter appears to prohibit a member of the city’s legislative body from sitting on another city board. Unless city legal advisers can craft an argument for Colon to keep both seats, she will have to resign from one. The City Charters calls for sitting members of the school board to fill a vacancy.

The new elected school board will be officially seated once voter results are certified by elections officials. On Wednesday (today) it is expected that officials from the Registrar and Town Clerk’s Offices will review tally sheets, certify the numbers and send them to the Office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State.

The first regular meeting of  the Bridgeport Board of Education will take place Monday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Aquaculture School, 60 St. Stephens Road near Captain’s Cove Seaport.

Statement from Working Families Party:

The Working Families Party is proud to announce that John Bagley has won a seat on the Bridgeport Board of Education. He won one of the four seats up for election by finishing within the top four spots among a field of nine candidates.

He will join Sauda Baraka and Maria Pereira, Working Families Party members currently on the nine seat Bridgeport Board of Education.

“It’s clear that parents, educators and voters in Bridgeport want a say in how their schools run,” said Lindsay Farrell, executive director of the Connecticut Working Families Party. “They elected John because they know he will be a fierce advocate for every student in Bridgeport. While it is disappointing that Barbara Pouchet did not win a seat, John’s election is a clear rejection of corporate control, and plans to hand their School Board over to bankers and CEOs.”

“I’m honored that the parents and voters in Bridgeport have chosen me to help ensure all our students can succeed,” said John Bagley. “Tonight was just the first step. Going forward I will work with Sauda, Maria, and the other board members to pursue success for all our public schools, instead of funneling dollars into private charter schools that can pick and choose the students they want. In order for students to succeed, we will give all children the support and resources they need by making sure special education programs are fully funded. And we’ll work to incorporate more extracurricular programs into our schools.”

“We’ll get parents engaged in the schools by reaching out and organizing the community. And we’ll create programs to help adults with reading, job training, and other skills so that the whole family is empowered and prepared to succeed. Parents know what their kids need, and that’s why we’ll always listen to parents.”

The Working Families Party is an independent grassroots party that fights for the 99%. WFP evaluates the records of all the candidates and supports only those with a proven track record of standing up for working-class and middle-class families on issues like good jobs, affordable healthcare, fair taxes and quality schools.



  1. Well, if Moales gets in maybe he will feel compelled to tell us why a $225,000 contract with the BOE is not a conflict of interest … or who paid for that multi-thousand dollar STEM thing at his church last year … or who pays for all the against violence things at his church … or … this would be a really good one, share with us why he got more school readiness slots than the ENTIRE city of Hartford. Clearly this is a man of god … can hardly wait to see the water to wine thing. Hope he remembers pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.

    1. I think a State Ethics Complaint is warranted in this case against Moales. We know Bridgeport’s Toothless Tiger of an Ethics Commission will see, speak and hear no evil on this complaint!

      Polly Grip Anyone?

  2. I believe in his letter to the editor, Tom Mulligan said he had no intention to serve and would resign. Will he pull a Mulligan on this hole?

    If Colon and Mulligan both resign wouldn’t this give naming rights to the 4-3 split?


    1. Nice 3-Pointer!

      Please see Mulligan quote:
      Judge Lopez goes on to somehow divine that because I have been at some board meeting taking notes so as to be familiar with current issues when I resume membership in September 2012, this means that a fix is in for me to be president of the Board. I can ease her anxiety. My current employment prevents me from devoting the amount of time that is necessary to serve in that position. I do not want the position nor would I accept it if it is offered.

      Read more: www

      1. Follow the Money–thanks for the link. He states he is at meetings taking notes for when he resumes membership Sept 2012. The comment about not having enough time is a direct response to Lopez’s claim he is in line to be president of the board.

  3. Lennie, you wrote, “Illingworth, Kelleher and Moales, all state-appointed board members, will join Democrats Tom Mulligan and Leticia Colon on the board in addition to Pereira and Baraka. Bagley, the ex Harding High School star and NBA pro, makes the ninth member.”

    Who is the ninth member?

  4. Understanding Mr. Mulligan’s parsing of his words still makes me feel if he can’t dedicate the proper time to be President because of his current employment, then how can he effectively serve on this board? It is my opinion anyone who voted to illegally reconstitute, versus the option to resign as was cited by the Supremes, should resign.

    Furthermore, I am a little worried by the ill-literative Mayoral messagonistic missive in today’s paper he feels this election “bodes well for charter change.” Will the Mayoral Muppets on the board campaign for Charter Revision toward an appointed board?

    They can’t serve two masters, although in Bridgeport we have a lot of master beaters.

  5. Regardless of the over-analyzing about how the different parties will create voting blocs and who will side with whom … what I take from this election is people are just sick and tired of an ineffective and incompetent school board.

    We can agree to disagree about the benefit of Vallas and the consultants he brought in … but the truth is more has been done in 6 months than in the last 6 years! That is what has resonated with the 5% of people who voted yesterday.

  6. Eureka!

    Brick states the situation perfectly and I could not agree with him more.

    Unfortunately to the vast majority of parents with kids in Bpt schools and voters, they just don’t give a rat’s ass about education as evidenced by turnout.

    Also unfortunately from the BOE meetings I’ve attended the past several years, the incredible bitching and whining among the Board members amply illustrated why our schools are so bad and previous superintendents so incompetent.

    Frankly the appointed board did far better. Let’s hope the newly elected board follows their lead.

  7. Brick,
    Your observation is very important.

    Two years ago, one year ago, public discussion regarding the Bridgeport educational system found nothing worthwhile ongoing. The Board was dysfunctional, it appeared to the public. The Superintendent did not have critical and measurable goals and objectives upon which genuine evaluation of learning results could be made by the Board. Supposedly the City distrusted the financial results from education administration and that distrust was mutual it turns out. (Interesting, I think it is the State of CT funding more than 80% of educational expenses (including ECS, grants, and capital funds for building), yet apparently State trust was present and audits of some kind were performed? Anyone have more info on this topic?)

    So change, indeed rapid change was required it seemed (and the manner in which it was accomplished was the very opposite of OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT we have since learned). And then was found to be illegal by the CT Supreme Court. However, a change agent entered our community in the person of Paul Vallas and a team of professionals who would look at our school system that had ignored “healthy living” and found itself in the “educational Emergency Room.” They did their review and research of vital signs, assessed the critical system issues, pointed the patient in the direction of healing, along with regular evaluation and public attention to financial “bloodflow” and got the elected executives at State and municipal levels to pay for the treatment. It takes time for all systems to show they are working cooperatively to heal and grow student learning. Time to see all stakeholders understand their full and special roles (particularly if these are new to them, or something they would rather pass to someone else) and to perform them.

    We are in a critical care room at this time. Can we take our medicine regularly? Will the various elected caretakers act responsibly? What will the patient chart tell us at mid year? What will those who track financial flows tell us today and at each financial reporting step?

    And how can we as a community ask each adult citizen to step up to the duty of voting? Ten percent of some 60,000 registered showed up yesterday to elect trustees for the educational development of 20,000 youth? What does that say about school parents specifically and about the rest of us generally? Nothing a community would receive a good citizenship award for, certainly. How do you get change? Carrots or sticks?

    Well we have witnessed voters who receive payment in cash or kind for their vote. That is wrong and destructive of good citizenship, isn’t it? Seniors tell us about “helpful” community members who circulate ballots with “Sign Here” instructions and wonder about extra-poll enticements or inducements by “connected” helpers? For those registered and have not voted in two or more elections, should their registration be terminated without prejudice (to avoid costs of printing, mailing and other ROV servicing)? Or would they rather pay a fine for missing the voting opportunity, in an amount equivalent to the $35 payable for an overdue parking meter? What might move people from “absent” to “present?” OIB readers should have a multitude of opinions on the subject. Time will tell.

  8. I refuse to read your 1000-word dissertations, JML … even if it was you agreeing with me. Seriously, you need to write less and say more.

    Why do you feel compelled to lecture about every topic? Instead, let’s try having a discussion … make a brief observation, get to the point and let someone else respond.

    1. I made several observations, around several points and expected responses. If you find the comments too long, that is a loss, but one I am willing to risk as my time for this is concentrated.
      You mention the word discussion but fail to enter into one, with even one of my observations, points, etc. What a shame.

      Less is not more about many things, Brick. For instance I am writing about 10% of voters showing at the polls: LESS IS NOT MORE, is it? Not interested? Rather make an ad hominem attack? If your preference is for short pieces on this site, there are plenty of them. Each to his own. Time will tell.

  9. Brick, maybe it was the prior BOE head who was causing much of the problems and not board members as much.

    And sure some things got done with the state-appointed board but keep in mind they were also free from Ramos too. And while it would be beneficial to seize control of Congress since they accomplish nothing, it is the leader, Obama, who is involved with the gridlock.

  10. *** Another Zombie election has come and gone without a care in the world concerning kids’ education in the Park City. What was the total voting percentage for this special election there Lennie, donj’s dying to know? *** PATHETIC ***


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