Six city residents active in education issues joined for this response to school board member Kevin McSpirit’s commentary entitled “Pereira is impediment to progress.” This commentary also appeared in the Connecticut Post.
No members of the public attend more Bridgeport Board of Education (BBOE) meetings than us. Our view of the BBOE is not from 15 second clips on TV, twitter, Facebook, or poor reporting from the Connecticut Post.
It is from spending hours sitting at BOE meetings night after night. We are Bridgeport public school parents and community leaders actively involved in the BPS. And we stand with not only Maria Pereira, but Sauda Baraka, Howard Gardner and Ben Walker. These four BBOE members have never abdicated their responsibilities to our over 21,000 students.
McSpirit wrote that the board meetings are “bogged down” over issues he deemed unimportant, like whether interim Superintendent Rabinowitz’s contract is valid or if the District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) is operating effectively.
Well, those are important issues to us, and not only do we support that the Board address these issues; we specifically asked Ms. Pereira to help us with the DPAC. Ms. Pereira and her colleagues respected the will of BPS parents and scheduled a meeting that McSpirit, Chair Dennis Bradley and Vice-Chair Joe Larcheveque also “boycotted.” These board members treated us with respect, listened to our concerns, and made recommendations that the vast majority of the DPAC executive board agreed with.
When it was placed on the regular board agenda to be discussed and approved by the full board, and after we patiently waited in the audience for over 5 hours, it was McSpirit, Bradley, Larcheveque and Rabinowitz that showed us absolutely no respect, and simply got up and walked out. Where was your call for “respect” then?
It has been Pereira, Baraka, Gardner and Walker who not only relentlessly pursued the search for a permanent superintendent, but also the completion of her review which is over two years past due. McSpirit, Bradley and Larcheveque have conspired with Rabinowitz to obstruct the progress on these two issues important to parents, including the most recent “boycott.”
The problem on the board is Bradley, Larcheveque, the illegal appointee Negron, McSpirit and the collusion with Rabinowitz.
Bradley’s conduct is outrageous for a variety of reasons, which include that he has no idea what he is doing, how to run a meeting, behaves like a dictator and cares nothing for the well-being of our children. Bradley’s only concern is his political aspirations and how he can do the bidding of Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa and Mayor Ganim.
Pereira holds Rabinowitz accountable for her actions or lack thereof. That is McSpirit’s job, too. McSpirit’s oped has blatant lies in it regarding Pereira. This is what is referred to as “propaganda” and “spin” in an attempt to deflect attention away from both you and your colleagues’ horrendous decision to abdicate your legal responsibilities to our children.
Pereira read a prepared statement about Negron at the last regular meeting that was professional and factual, and we agreed with it 100 percent. We also do not recognize Negron as a legal member of the BOE and agree that those that don’t pay their real estate taxes should not get to make decisions on the BOE about our tax dollars.
As an outsider, McSpirit does not speak for what BPS parents and what true Bridgeporters consider a “horrendous example.” However, we do.
McSpirit is from an affluent suburb and purchased a home in the affluent Black Rock area in April 2012. He will never understand or relate to our children, our neighborhoods, or what we face in many of our communities on a daily basis.
However, Maria Pereira epitomizes Bridgeport because she was born and raised on the lower East Side, attended our schools, graduated from Warren Harding High School, her own child graduated from the BPS, and she can connect with children and parents from all walks of life. When parents call on her she is there, and she has stood with true public school parents for years. You cannot say the same.
There are “horrendous examples” on our school board, and that would include chair Bradley, Larcheveque, the illegal and completely absentee appointee Negron and McSpirit.
As a former member of the Navy, Mr. McSpirit, if you had ever “boycotted” your responsibilities, you would have been court marshaled. Therefore, it is you and your colleagues, who have chosen to pull a political stunt and abdicate your responsibilities, that need to either report for “duty” or resign.
We stand united with Pereira, Baraka, Gardner and Walker, who have done more for our BPS children than you and your colleagues will likely accomplish in your lifetime.
Tammy Boyle, DPAC Recording Secretary & SPAC Vice President Bridgeport Military Academy
Albert Benejan, DPAC District Committee, Community representative and PTSO President Bassick High School
Cynthia Infante, DPAC District Committee Community representative
JoAnn Kennedy, DPAC District Committee Community representative
Nilda Barahona, PAC President Blackham School
Karen Jackson, Former BBOE Candidate and activist