Legislators: Mountain Too High To Overturn Supremes

From Ken Dixon, CT Post:

HARTFORD — The General Assembly will not seek to overturn last week’s state Supreme Court decision that rejected the takeover of the Bridgeport’s Board of Education.

There was not enough support in the city’s six-member delegation to push a bill that would ratify the reconstituted board.

Other lawmakers were concerned that a legislative remedy to the high court’s ruling could threaten the state’s tradition of local control of public schools.

“There is not consensus within the delegation on addressing the Supreme Court,” said Doug Whiting, spokesman for Speaker of the House Christopher G. Donovan, who last week gauged the interest and priorities of the city’s delegation.

The city’s lawmakers last week were divided on the issue and the ramifications of superseding local control.

“I think the feeling at this point, without a consensus, it just didn’t make sense to bring this any further,” Whiting said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, at an event in Norwalk prior to Donovan’s announcement, said he hoped the progress begun under Bridgeport interim Superintendent Paul Vallas continues.

“I’d certainly like to see him continue in that position for as long as he wants to continue and the political leadership of Bridgeport wants him to continue,” Malloy said.

Vallas, who has a one-year contract, has said his work would continue, regardless of the outcome of the takeover litigation.

It appears the job of scheduling a special election will now resume in Superior Court in Waterbury. Under the Supreme Court’s ruling, the seats of four local school board members whose term had expired will be filled in that special election. The winners would join the other five members of the now-disbanded, locally elected school board.



  1. Absent any last-minute U-turns by the City legislative delegation or officials at the State level this would seem a WIN for fundamental support for citizen election of representatives. Now we can see whether the citizens of Bridgeport, as registered voters, especially among the parents and other education stakeholders, will attend to the upcoming Special Election and the qualifications of the candidates presenting themselves to the people and asking to be elected.

    The Charter Revision process that is ongoing at this moment will not be complete and effective until after the November election, assuming the Revision details are understood and approved by the electorate at that time. So primary voting tomorrow, and Special Election for Board of Education per Supreme Court ruling in a while. Never a dull moment in Bridgeport. And plenty of time for enough public forums where accurate info can be discussed and understood. Time will tell.

  2. Absolutely the right conclusion. I hope that means the dueling rallies are cancelled. I wish all that energy would join forces in a positive way.

  3. Ken Dixon’s CT Post article states, “There was not enough support in the city’s six-member delegation to push a bill that would ratify the reconstituted board.” Well I would like to know which member or members did support the bill that would ratify the reconstituted board and what were their reasons?

    1. Ron, I sent e-mails to all our reps and our two senators and I only received one answer. I was contacted by Jack Hennessy and he was not in favor of a legislative solution. No one else contacted me.

  4. *** Big sidestep on this issue for the General Assembly and Bpt’s legislators during an election year, no? It’s let the courts direct the steps towards what will be an interesting upcoming election in Bpt. *** Politics vs Pro-education Voters ***

  5. Here is something form the CT Post. It explains in part why the mayor was pushing so hard for HIS board of ed:

    “You have to work off the incumbent terms,” said Mednick, who has worked on charter revisions in other cities, including Hartford. “You can’t terminate someone’s elected term” (contrary to what the mayor and Governor believe).

    This would mean the five elected members with active terms wouldn’t be replaced until their terms expire in November 2013. And the four members elected in a proposed special election this summer would serve until November 2015.

    Read more: www .ctpost.com/local/article/City-Charter-Revision-board-explores-school-board-3377953.php

  6. Jon Pelto’s post today:
    Oh, hello legislators; What do you mean you didn’t know?–I swear we told you.

    “In this situation what legislators have not been told is that the state’s effort to take over Bridgeport’s schools was not about education policy but about politics–and the proof can be found in a set of emails that have surfaced but have not been shared with members of the Legislature’s Education Committee.

    “In this incredible and incrementing set of emails it becomes clear that the plan to take over the Bridgeport Public Schools took shape more than a year ago, and neither State Board of Education members nor the legislature were properly briefed, consulted or even informed.”

    Why is ConnCAN always right in the middle of this stuff?

  7. And here is some posturing BS from the council president a.k.a. Finch’s water boy:
    Thomas McCarthy, president of the City Council, which must approve any recommendations made by the commission, said most of the council is also in favor of an appointed board but would demand the right to approve mayoral appointments.

    McCarthy said since before he joined the council 11 years ago, the city has had an adversarial relationship with the school board and claimed the board “has a history of being dishonest.”

    Did McCarthy just say for the past 11 years the Board of Ed are thieves or liars? Or both??? This boy needs to be taken out to the shed.

    I do not know of any elected members of the Board of Education lying or stealing. What is he talking about???

    1. Has McCarthy looked at the mayor’s budget he has voted for in the past 11 years? Has McCarthy ever questioned the proposed budget? The answer to that question is NO.
      During the last year’s budget hearings McCarthy was a cheerleader for the budget. Did he question the $4.5 million in ghost salaries? NO. Pure and simple, McCarthy, like most of the council, is full of shit.

  8. I know this much. Senator Gomes was steadfastly against any such maneuver. And when it became clear to legislative leaders in Hartford that they could not sway his vote, the question become one of “If you are going to vote against this can we at least count on you not to speak to the matter in the Senate?”
    To which the good senator replied “If this item comes before the Senate for a vote you can count on me speaking against it in a loud and clear voice.”

  9. What am I waiting for?
    A) Paul Vallas’ deficit reduction plan for 2011-12
    B) Paul Vallas’ five-year educational plan and budget for 2012-2017.
    C) The tools by which Vallas will demonstrate OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT governance process to Bridgeport’s public taxpayers, parents and all stakeholders.
    D) The series of public meetings where technology is used to inform the public by word and picture the process and reveal what, when, where and how we will operate with ACCOUNTABILITY going forward.

    Any other things you are looking for from the BOE, the administrators, the professional and other staff members, and the students supported by parents??? Get ready to look for the changes, or lack of them, as the case may be. Time will tell.

  10. So if our city likes to overturn elected people, can we overturn the November election?

    Can we just put in our own mayor?

    Would the Governor put John Gomes in since he helped Malloy while the people he is helping now did NOT?


  11. If the legislative body from Bridgeport acted like a voting bloc they’d have some modicum of respect in the legislature. But they each have their own agendas and none of them have to do with the good and welfare of Connecticut’s largest city.

  12. Try to imagine you don’t live in Bridgeport. Try to imagine legislators from around the state looking at the situation.

    Remember how strongly people believe in town government in Connecticut.

    Try to think of reasons to go along with the proposed legislation on the school board, governor or no governor.

    This is a “Bridgeport” bill. People in Connecticut do not like “Bridgeport” bills. They are often screwy and against the political values, Democratic and Republican, of Connecticut.

  13. Jim,
    I suspect there were a lot of legislators from outside Bridgeport who weren’t willing to go out on this particular political limb unless the entire Bridgeport delegation was willing to go out there with them. When they balked, the bill was doomed regardless of what the Governor and the Mayor wanted.

  14. Sully will kick Grogins’ ass on this one!
    She’s a true Finchette.
    I’d like to thank the CT Working Family Party for their hard work. Great job!

    1. I would like to second that shout-out to CT Working Families! I had a nice field operations rep at my door at 7:30 PM last night and I had the pleasure of letting him know the “emergency bill” has been “neutralized.”


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