UPDATE: Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster, who opposes the state mothballing the Bridgeport BOE, wants to run a slate of school board candidates on her ticket. She is asking local election officials to release petition papers to secure signatures from registered Dems for BOE candidates. Democratic Registrar of Voters Sandi Ayala is asking state elections officials for guidance in light of a state takeover of city schools.
Political activist Marilyn Moore, who had served for a brief period as campaign manager for Democratic mayoral candidate John Gomes before supporting Foster, will be a candidate for city clerk on the Foster ticket. She would challenge Fleeta Hudson, who has served as city clerk for 20 years. Citywide offices, in addition to mayor, include BOE, city clerk, town clerk and city sheriff. Citywide challenge candidates must secure just over 2000 certified signatures among registered Dems to appear on the September primary ballot. Aug. 10 is the deadline to submit signatures.
Former City Councilman Alberto “Tito” Ayala will be a candidate for town clerk. Former City Councilman Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez, long-time Democratic party activist Andy Fardy (aka town committee on OIB) and Dwayne McBride, a retired city police officer, will be candidates for city sheriff.
The potential BOE candidates seeking to run on the Foster slate are City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh, George Pipkin III, son of the legendary George Pipkin who for years directed Hall Neighborhood House, Charlie Coviello, multiple mayoral candidate. Coviello confirmed he’s dropping out of the mayoral race to support Foster.
Ayala, who was at the center of the ballot-shortage controversy last November, wants direction from the state regarding BOE petition papers. Could this be another election storm? The Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee, as a result of state control, did not endorse candidates for BOE. Has the BOE been officially reconstituted by the state yet? Two dethroned BOE members filed suit in state court to reverse state takeover. An injunction hearing is scheduled for August 8.
What triggers the state officially taking over city schools? Seeking an official response from the state. A spokesperson from the Connecticut Secretary of State’s Office says elections for BOE candidates, barring court intervention, are placed on hold. “According to the state statute, there is no election for Board of Education in Bridgeport, since the state has used its authority to reconstitute the Bridgeport Board of education. The members of the board will be appointed, not elected. Therefore, since there is no election for BOE in Bridgeport, there should be no primary petitions issued because there will be no primary.”
The relevant statute is:
10-223e subsection h
(h) The State Board of Education may authorize the Commissioner of Education to reconstitute a local or regional board of education pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (d) of this section for a period of not more than five years. The board shall not grant such authority to the commissioner unless the board has required the local or regional board of education to complete the training described in subparagraph (M) of subdivision (2) of subsection (c) of this section. Upon such authorization by the board, the commissioner shall terminate the existing local or regional board of education and appoint the members of a new local or regional board of education for the school district. Such appointed members may include members of the board of education that was terminated. The terms of the members of the new board of education shall be three years. The Department of Education shall offer training to the members of the new board of education. The new board of education shall annually report to the commissioner regarding the district’s progress toward meeting the benchmarks established by the State Board of Education pursuant to subsection (c) of this section and making adequate yearly progress, as defined in the state accountability plan prepared in accordance with subsection (a) of this section. If the district fails to show adequate improvement, as determined by the State Board of Education, after three years, the commissioner may reappoint the members of the new board of education or appoint new members to such board of education for terms of two years.