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Is Vallas Playing A “Stick Up” Game For Health Insurance?

January 7th, 2014 · 22 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Education, News and Events

Even as Paul Vallas is preparing to walk out the door after more than two years as school chief, the nails-against-the-blackboard irritation continues. His latest issue with the Board of Education centers on a battle over extension of health insurance benefits. Vallas has received nearly $500,000 since he joined the district. He can’t cover his own benefits once he leaves the district? His health insurance should be extended through June as he’s campaigning for lieutenant governor of Illinois?

Vallas’ predecessor John Ramos received a sweetheart health insurance extension to age 65.

This really is a great message for Vallas on the Illinois campaign stump: extended health benefits for everyone making $234,000 a year.

Linda Conner Lambeck from the CT Post has more:

The new school board, meanwhile, expects him gone by Feb. 7 — two months after it accepted his verbal resignation. At issue is a request by Vallas for health insurance coverage through June.

Steven Nemerovski, Vallas’ attorney, said his client may be willing to end his employment earlier in exchange for an extension of his health insurance benefits, according to board attorneys.

Board Chairwoman Sauda Baraka, who is standing by the Feb. 7 date, called the request a “stick up” in an email to board attorney Donald Houston.

Full story here.

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22 Comments so far ↓

  • Ron Mackey

    Paul Vallas, acting like the true Republican he is, I’m sure the voters of Illinois would like to know how Vallas is pulling the “Stick Up” Game For Health Insurance on the taxpayers of Bridgeport.

  • Godiva2011

    Vallas truly has a pair of brass ones; this really takes it to another lower than low level. This is like pouring salt into the wounds. The sooner he leaves, the better; but there’s no way the BOE should cave into giving him insurance just to be rid of him a few weeks earlier.

  • Chosen 1

    Does anyone on this new BOE have any idea what is going on or have a set of stones?
    Vallas should be shown the door, a door he was technically never qualified to be in.
    What’s going on with the $115,000 a year job as Deputy Public Facilities Director that mysteriously appeared in the CT Post but nobody in City Hall or the BOE knew about?
    The skinny Minny:
    A no-college former custodian, Jorge Garcia is the Director of both PF and the BOE, and is looking for a Deputy Director who will actually be running the BOE even though he/she will be PF?
    So a friend of Garcia’s is being put into this position that actually calls for degrees and experience even though the Director’s experience was as a custodian?
    How legal is it for PF to be in charge of the federal BOE money?
    I’m so confused.
    Isn’t anything investigated anymore?
    I work nights. Goodnight.

  • BOE SPY

    Yeah, just like that Ramos guy, who got a golden parachute and YEARS worth of health insurance but he was a Democrat and we are used to getting ripped off by them. Sure PV got ~$20K less per year than Ramos and PV did not get a golden parachute for walking away and VP balanced the BOE budget avoiding school closures and layoffs and VP brought a couple million with him as a forgivable loan when he came. You could argue he worked for free since what we paid him did not meet or exceed what he brought. Now, he wants the BOE to pay for 5 months of his health insurance??? That SOB! He should refuse to leave and make the BOE buy out his contract and really stick it to the city. I am sure the WFP would pay through the nose to get him out.

    • CT Taxpayer

      BOE SPY,
      From your previous postings, it’s easy for a reader to conclude you had no use for John Ramos. I didn’t either. However, the BOE’s mistake in giving Ramos his “departing gifts” is no justification for giving any to Paul Vallas or to anyone else. Oh. And that loan he brought with him wasn’t his money; it was the state taxpayers’ money.

      This man has the gall to nickle-and-dime the district and its students, especially because he is well aware of the dire financial condition of the school system. Shame on him.

  • John Marshall Lee

    CT Taxpayer,
    Would you please be as direct about “the dire financial condition of the school system” as you are in presiding over an inexpensive departure for School Chief Paul Vallas.
    For two years few voices have been heard in Bridgeport at BOE meetings by the public or Board members, at BOE Finance Committee meetings, at City Council meetings or budget hearings about public school finances. Why not? Because the financial budgeting and spending were accurate and transparent and they balanced. That was new but the Vallas team has not received any positive votes for that institutional behavior. Bridgeport is a tough town.
    I hear the $3.5 million loan still is not favored by many because it provides the State with a ‘seat at the table’ in the Superintendent selection process. OK, but didn’t the State BOE in general always have the responsibility and the right to tell us locally our system was failing our children? And what would their reforms have looked like?
    As it is, the City has used education for balancing its books when necessary in more than one way, and has failed to complete its MBR obligation to the school system. I have remarked on this at multiple City meetings.
    If the Vallas contract would have allowed him to complete the year, it seems clear those in power had other thoughts. And personnel decisions have much to do with why and how public funds are spent I have learned. Principled decisions that provide smart patterns to be followed in the future seem almost as rare as $600 checks for tax refunds from the initial Finch mayoral year.

    To the extent the community fails to look at the balanced budget structure it has enjoyed for two years (I guess including the Ramos payouts and legal and settlement expenses of past years) and denies the exiting chief’s request for four months of healthcare expense, who is it who lacks comprehension and appears to be nickle and diming? Vallas is ready to leave. He declared his intent. Many are delighted with that momentum. However, most need to look at what is in place (and the lack of any publicly available developed, discussed and Committee-approved alternative) financial plan. Are we to go from fall of 2011 where $12 Million deficits and multiple school closings met the Vallas team plan and subsided to financial silence for two years … to where in 2014? Time will tell.

    • CT Taxpayer

      John Marshall Lee,
      Perhaps I misunderstood you, but my interpretation of your remarks is balancing the budget is what matters, not how the budget is balanced. Do you have any idea how many high school courses have been completely cut from the schools? Do you have any idea how many classes are far too large? Do you have any idea how understaffed the student support services are in Bridgeport, whose students need a greater amount of services than do students in the more affluent suburbs? Instead, they get far less service. I know from having worked in the district for a long time.

      The money Paul Vallas is demanding is small, when compared to the overall budget and to the needs. No, the cost of his insurance wouldn’t provide for restoring a single course or for adding any student support services, but it is a sad commentary when the superintendent who has so often professed to be here for the benefit of the kids is seeking insurance coverage he can easily afford to pay on his own. It doesn’t speak well for him.

      • Sue

        But look at the money he saved with his no-bid contracts such as EASYiep–he didn’t have to use any copypaper, ink or postage.

      • BOE SPY

        You ask ‘balancing the budget is what matters.’ Yes, yes it is. If you do not balance the budget, the budget will balance itself. And not in a good way. Once you run out of money, whatever bill comes up is the one that does not get paid. Look at your household budget. You can choose now to cancel your cable, phone, internet or you can just keep going and one day you run out of money. Maybe it is the rent day or grocery day. Regardless, you choose what bills you stop paying or the bills choose you. What should have gotten cancelled to balance the budget (gym, art, math)? It is a lose/lose situation. Someone always needs the service and all the easy choices have been made.
        As far as PV’s demands go, ask that same question when teacher raises, tax increases, etc. are on the table. No, the cost of 2% or 6-1/2 furlough days, or 5 mils wouldn’t provide for restoring a single course or for adding any student support services, but it is a sad commentary when the teacher, taxpayers who have so often professed to be here for the benefit of the kids are seeking raises they can easily afford to skip. It doesn’t speak well for them. You do not have the same feeling of moral high ground when the arrow is pointing at you.

  • Mojo

    *** After the BOE’s past opening of the Health Benefits “Pandora’s Box” for Ramos, what do you expect? *** THE SOS ***

  • flubadub

    The BOE should have obtained written confirmation immediately after the Dec 9th meeting when Vallas agreed he would leave 60 days thence. Regardless, Vallas is still an arrogant shameless twit. Illinois, he’s all yours.

  • Bob Walsh

    I cannot believe John Marshall Lee has the balls to try to defend this lowlife. Get him out of here.
    My advice to the BOE is to tell him to hit the road immediately and take his COBRA papers with him.
    JML, my advice to you is to hit the road, Jack. Head for Illinois. Be Paul Vallas’ campaign manager and put all your BS spin on Paul in his run for Lt. Gov. See if the people in Illinois will buy it because the taxpayers in Bridgeport won’t.
    Good riddance, Paul. And door, Paul. Don’t let it hit you in the ass on your way out because you may not have medical insurance.

  • Ron Mackey

    Bob Walsh, then who will be David Walker’s spokesman?

  • Ron Mackey

    Ramos was fired by the appointed board, so a payout was in order. Vallas has resigned from his position, which is different. He has resigned to run for political office in another state. He has a contract that sets forth the process to follow in the event of a resignation. It does not call for any type of a payout. This is simply Chicago politics at its worst.

  • Phil Smith

    Much Ado About Nothing.

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    From The Atlantic today re the Vallas legacy:
    The victims of this bubble are the students. Politicians benefit from feel-good rhetoric, administrators see a steady flow of money filling their coffers, and teachers can rest assured their jobs are protected regardless of their abilities in the classroom. All the pre-K and low-interest tuition loans in the world won’t matter if the education being provided is substandard.

    Yet, those railing against economic inequality are doing very little to offer an educational pathway for children to rise out of poverty. De Blasio has declared war against charter schools in New York City, proposing to stunt their growth in the city by threatening to stop offering them free rent. More brazenly, the Obama Justice Department filed a lawsuit against a Louisiana program designed to allow poor students to pick alternatives to their failing public schools. It’s on par with the administration’s hostility to school choice: One of the first moves the Obama administration made was trying to shut down the popular D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, providing vouchers to city students to attend private schools.
    Last April, my colleague Adam Kushner documented the remarkable turnaround New Orleans public schools are experiencing, thanks to a wave of educational reforms introduced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The city laid off most of its public school teaching workforce, liberally issued charter school licenses, and demanded accountability from its students. In a system that’s 95 percent black and with 92 percent of students getting free or reduced lunches, the passing rate on state tests nearly doubled and the graduation rate is now higher than the national average.

    Such reforms aren’t a panacea for the numerous challenges facing impoverished Americans. As Kushner wrote, the New Orleans school system has gone from a “state of crisis to a state of mediocrity, which counts as a miracle here.” For every successful KIPP college-prep charter school in the city, there’s another charter school that’s flailing down the road. But the successes clearly demonstrate a pathway for success–one that holds a much better track record than simply spending more money without setting necessary benchmarks.

  • jakedog

    Paulus-Vallasitis: the deadly disease that infects public schools
    by Ken Previti
    Paul Vallas is not content with crippling and killing public schools. Chicago, Philadelphia, Louisiana, Haiti and Bridgeport, Connecticut have all suffered from the same deadly bacteria, Paulus-Vallasitis, that Vallas carries. As the titular head of those school systems, Vallas has been graded a Z, which is much, much lower than an F.
    reclaimreform.com/2014/01/07/paulus-vallasitis-the-deadly-disease-that-infects-public-schools/

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      With all due respect jake, I trust a national vetted balanced news provider much more than a couple of sources who seem only focused on negative attack points of view.

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