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City Council Resolution Calls On School Board To End Boycott

November 5th, 2016 · 12 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Council, City Politics, Education, News and Events

The City Council’s Education and Social Services Committee co-chaired by Alfredo Castillo and John Olson is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, 6:30pm in City Hall to act on a “Proposed resolution requesting the Bridgeport Board of Education members meet together to fulfill their duly sworn mission to serve the students, faculty and employees of the public schools.” Agenda here.

A deeply divided board has not met for regularly scheduled meetings following Chairman Dennis Bradley’s call for a boycott unless board member Maria Pereira, with whom he has clashed, resigns. Pereira is not resigning. The board has only met for small-agenda special meetings scheduled by Bradley, the most recent to interview candidates to fill the vacancy of Republican Kevin McSpirit. It appears once again, however, that Mayor Joe Ganim will appoint a replacement because the board has not acted within 30 days of the resignation.

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis recently upheld Ganim’s authority to fill a vacancy if the board does not act.

The full City Council is scheduled to meet Monday night in what is historically a quick meeting on the eve of Election Day. See agenda here.

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Jeff Kohut

    Excellent, timely moves by Casco and Olson. Let’s see if the rest of the CC has the resolve to buy into their proposed resolution. Will the impotent, pseudo-activist group, BCAC, which has a petition circulating requesting another State takeover of the BBOE, have any effect on all of this? Doubtful. No one has taken them seriously for years.

  • Donald Day

    It won’t be over until Mario says to end the boycott. Maybe the council’s energy might be better spent addressing that with him.

    • Ron Mackey

      Don, you got it right, Mario Testa just had a fundraiser where 250 people came to pay to play, you have got to be in it to win it because money is “the mother’s milk” in politics.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ron has happily repeated the phrase “money is the mother’s milk of politics” more than once recently. And a regard for money as a necessary resource to handle the mission is worthy of respect.

    But didn’t the City Council ignore the public school system at budget time and leave them alone with a $15 Million “PROBLEM?” And even if the City has provided the money for bus transportation or school resource officers, that is a small part of the balance the BOE was seeking, isn’t it? Has the Education and Social Services Committee a handle on the math economics? Why don’t they negotiate with City Hall to use the necessary funds available in the actual windfalls from the State not projected at budget time, and have enough money to put Kindergarten paraprofessionals and guidance counselors back to work? Would that be enough to get BOE members eyes back on the task of responsibility for the classrooms and conducting General Meetings again? Time will tell.

    • Ron Mackey

      JML, none of those issues matter if you don’t get elected and in order to get elected you have to have money to get your word out to the voters to vote for you, so where do you get the money to run?

  • Bob Walsh

    A gratuitous gesture done for public perception. So let’s say the BOE does not end the boycott, then what? Or Ganim appoints another member and controls the majority so the boycott ends.
    This nothing but more pandering.

  • Bob Walsh

    Another toothless tiger resolution by the spineless City Council.

  • Maria Pereira

    First, let me state their are only four BOE members boycotting, not the full board. Those boycotting members are Dennis Bradley, Joe Larcheveque, Annette Segarra-Negron and Raphael Fonseca.

    Sauda Baraka, Howard Gardner, Ben Walker and myself have not boycotted ANY meetings and have done everything in our power to meet our statutory obligations to our over 21,000 students.

    Second, I think it is ironic the City Council Education Committee is discussing a resolution urging the BOE to meet when their committee has the worst record of holding meetings and passing any substantive and/or meaningful motions.

    This is just a political move.

  • Frank Gyure

    Reading the CC subcommittee Agenda, the Resolution being discussed is worthless, toothless and a total waste of time. Actually, the description of the resolution as written here on OIB is WRONG. The resolution says nothing about ending the boycott and does not even use the word “boycott.” The resolution calls on BOE members “to meet to fulfill their duties.” The BOE has been meeting haphazardly because Chair Dennis Bradley has been cancelling ALL REGULARLY SCHEDULED MEETINGS and he has been only scheduling SPECIAL MEETINGS, which is within his power but it gives him the ability to completely control the Agenda. The CC Subcommittee resolution says NOTHING about returning to the regularly scheduled meeting schedule. Nor does it address the fact that Interim School Superintendent Frances Rabinowitz has been withholding School staff from assisting and she has refused to let School staff to attend and assist. The above scenario has also put a dead stop to any work by the BOE subcommittees. For all practical purposes, the work of the BOE has come to a stop due to the maneuvering by Dennis Bradley. I attended a BOE special meeting couple of weeks and members Pereira, Baraka, Walker,Gardner made eloquent individual pleas to return to the regular schedule but Dennis Bradley repeated himself with his own excuses and absolutely refused a return to regular meetings. Members Segarra and Fonseca were present but said nothing (this meeting took place before Judge Bellis decided the Mayor could appoint members under the conditions claimed by the Mayor, the 30 day issue. (Btw, I am curious to read Judge Bellis’ Decision and see her legal reasoning.) So Bottom Line, this resolution does absolutely NOTHING as I read it in the Agenda attached to the OIB article.

  • Ben Walker

    I applaud this action, but alas, it is for naught. This is a fool’s errand. The City Council has no authority over the Board of Education. Mr. Bradley sees himself as omnipotent. He often likens himself to “Obama.” Until Mr. Bradley feels enough serious pressure to end his juvenile boycott, nothing will happen. And while we wait for Bradley to come to his senses, our children are suffering.

    In the meantime, Bradley purposefully stalls to give Ganim the opportunity to appoint yet another BOE member. A full one-third of the BOE will soon be appointed as a direct result of Bradley’s maneuverings. Not once has the BBOE even had the chance to vote on a replacement member. While he sits out his puerile boycott Fran Rabinowitz has a free hand to hire her buddies as administrators, change curriculum, restructure the budget, ignore board mandates, sweep incidents of bullying under the rug, ignore state mandates to repair the special education department, and garner support to rescind her silly resignation. With Bradley’s assistance, she will soon scuttle the third attempt to oust her in favor of a full-time superintendent. And while they both boycott, our children fall further behind.

    Because of the childishness of these two, Rabinowitz and Bradley, the BBOE are on the precipice of missing important deadlines that could put us in serious jeopardy concerning pending litigation. This could put the BOE at liability for millions of dollars. The actions or inactions of these two will certainly have a ripple effect that will set the Bridgeport Public Schools years behind. And while this is happening, our children suffer.

    There are four of us who have met regularly, scheduling Special Meetings as per our bylaws, and maintained our schedule of committee meetings in spite of Interim-Superintendent Rabinowitz’ participation in the boycott. Even when the four of us follow all protocols and procedures spelled out in the BOE bylaws, Rabinowitz and Bradley refuse to post our meetings or staff our meetings as mandated. We have been locked out of meeting locations and have even had the police called on us, all for trying to do the business of the BBOE. And while these two play their games, our children are deprived of the best we can give them.

    A byproduct of the Rabinowitz/Bradley boycott is the silencing of the public. There are no options for the public to speak at Bradley’s special meetings. Additionally, the emboldened Rabinowitz has shut the remainder of the BOE out concerning serious issues of bullying, fighting, student arrests, chronic absenteeism, increasing failure rates, soaring dropout rates, and additional stresses on the staff due to her constantly berating the BOE in executive staff meetings. And while she is trashing the BOE as being ignorant and dysfunctional, our children are begging for an education.

    Thank you, City Council, for your attempt to “make”” us meet. I will be there Wednesday night, cheering you on. And while you set your resolution, our children will be dying.

  • Jimfox

    Yes City Council, Bradley will be the one with his pants down, that’s if he shows up in the first place. The one-trick pony!
    www .youtube.com/watch?v=h_ROvXmK_PI

  • Joseph Sokolovic

    Attention City Council. A simple solution to the problem at hand. Resolve to reach out to the Mayor and have him appoint someone to the Board of Education, rather than appoint someone to the boycott. This would create a quorum and allow the board to get back to the business of our children as the four non-boycotters have been trying to do the last few months. The board may however have to borrow council chambers to hold the meetings as Fran Rabinowitz and colluding board members may still lock the board members out.

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