Mayor’s Education Director Says Working Families Party School Board Members “Obstruct Progress For Our Children”

The Connecticut Working Families Party is catching heat from OIB readers for its single-minded public castigation of Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas who says he’d like to stay on another school year as the nine-member Board of Education completes an evaluation of his job performance. Three of those school board members Maria Pereira, Sauda Baraka and John Bagley serve as members of the WFP which has taken matters into its own hands with a public campaign against Vallas. The WFP minority voting bloc on the school board does not appear to be satisfied unless they choose the next school chief. Joshua Thompson, director for Education and Youth for Mayor Bill Finch, says the WFP is promoting “outright lies” regarding Vallas’ record. Thompson statement follows:

“I want to make something 100-percent clear, the elected Board of Education had one task, which was to be objective in the evaluation process of Superintendent Paul G. Vallas. The Working Families Party members of the Board of Education have more than failed at that task.

“Our children deserve adults to carry this process out with integrity. During the past week, while the evaluation was occurring, we had elected members who belong to the Working Families Party signing petitions and holding rallies calling for the resignation of our Superintendent. The petitions that were signed and the rallies that were held promoted outright lies in regard to the Superintendent’s record not only in relation to his work here in Bridgeport but in regard to his work in other cities as well.

“My question is:

Who is funding this effort to promote inaccuracies?

And, who in their right mind would financially support politicizing our children?

“I am very concerned that we have elected board members whose values are tied to that of the Working Families Party. WFP members are currently going door-to-door here in Bridgeport promoting blatant inaccuracies in an effort to obstruct progress for our children. With Superintendent Vallas’ evaluation coming up this Monday, it is clear that anyone who is part of the Working Families Party did not objectively evaluate the Superintendent’s performance–a level of progress that we have never seen in Bridgeport.”



  1. Bridgeport Code of Ethics for BOE.

    Code of Ethics for School Board Members
    A school board member shall abide by the following Code of Ethics for School Board Members:

    a. I will uphold and enforce all laws, rules and regulations of the State Board of Education, and court orders pertaining to schools. Desired changes shall be brought about only through legal and ethical procedures.

    b. I will make decisions in terms of the educational welfare of children and will seek to develop and maintain public schools that meet the individual needs of all children regardless of their ability, race, creed, sex, or social standing.

    c. I will confine my board action to policy making, planning, and appraisal, and I will help to frame policies and plans only after the board has consulted those who will be affected by them.

    d. I will carry out my responsibility, not to administer the schools, but, together with my fellow board members, to see that they are well run.

    e. I will recognize that authority rests with the board of education and will make no personal promises nor take any private action that may compromise the board.

    f. I will refuse to surrender my independent judgment to special interest or partisan political groups or to use the schools for personal gain or for the gain of friends.

    g. I will hold confidential all matters pertaining to the schools which, if disclosed, would needlessly injure individuals or the schools. In all other matters, I will provide accurate information and, in concert with my fellow board members, interpret to the staff the aspirations of the community for its school.

    h. I will vote to appoint the best qualified personnel available after consideration of the recommendation of the chief administrative officer.

    i. I will support and protect school personnel in proper performance of their duties.

    j. I will refer all complaints to the chief administrative officer and will act on the complaints at public meetings only after failure of an administrative solution.

  2. Who’s working for our kids on the BOE?
    Obviously the Conn. Working Families Party is not working for our kids.
    Then who are they working for? More WFP BOE members?
    Bobby Simmons, Maria Pereira, Sauda Baraka and John Bagley.
    If you don’t know the good work of Mr. Paul Vallas by now, then you didn’t do your homework. The four of you are either the dumbest people we ever had sitting on the BOE, or just obstructionist. I didn’t vote your ass in to be an obstructionist.

  3. The BOE’s one responsibility is IMPROVING the education of students. They are there to serve the kids. That is ALL. The Working Families Party keeps trying to make it about them. They are against the children of this city and they need to GO!!!

  4. Follow the money, just follow the money, it is those who are pushing for Vallas and Mayor Finch who have the money that will be made by their associates, the WFP don’t have a dime in this play. Mayor Finch was not happy with a 6 to 3 voting margin on the BOE or having the state come in and put Vallas in place, no he had to try to take the “voting rights” away from the voters of Bridgeport to elect the BOE. Mayor Finch created this fight because he wanted full and total control of the BOE.

    1. Ron Mackey, get a clue! WFP is financed by teachers unions who don’t want to see any changes to the system that impact their membership (i.e. performance evaluations and tenure) even if those things can help kids. Lennie, follow the WFP’s money! You’ll see the NEA, AFT, AFL-CIO all over their financial reports. They yell and scream about outsiders but what about them? They aren’t even based in Bridgeport or in the state of Connecticut! Do your research.

  5. BridgeportBooster, follow the money. Which group will get these multiple million dollar contracts, WFP or Vallas, Finch & Friends? I guess you refuse to address the other comments I made concerning Mayor Finch but that’s okay, I understand.

  6. Questions to be considered:
    1. Was/is Vallas the contract in question an interim superintendent or is this an official contract to fill the position full time? If it’s interim should we not be offering full time and with the terms of the contract to timeline his five-year plan?
    2. Is there a condition of the $3.5 million forgivable loan from the state to do a search for a full-time superintendent? If it is a condition, why is this not being addressed? I understand BPT must submit three candidates and Pryor can reject one.
    3. Since Vallas has the blessing of Finch, I have to wonder if the WFP is doing what is necessary to stop the machine and the status quo from achieving their ultimate goal of an appointed school board. And is this a smear campaign against the WFP by the DTC? There was a time the questions they asked at the BOE meetings were applauded and they are the reason we defeated the charter revision.

      1. Yes Sunshine, I do. As I learn more and more about the reach of the DTC with regard to HB 5724, and how the WFP has taken sure votes from the DTC agenda–Charter Revision vote–I believe the DTC is very organized and able to execute such an effort. Excel is just one branch of the machine.

  7. *** I really don’t need someone who “works” for the Finch Admin. to tell me the WFP has overstepped their boundaries in what looks like a personal vendetta against Vallas. Also, OIB in the past has been very supportive of many WFP stands either for or against agendas concerning the BOE in general and why WFP members, other than the four BOE members in question need to recognize sometimes you can attract more bees with honey than with vinegor and there’s a time and place for political posturing when it comes to BOE issues. With local elections forthcoming in the fall, this prolonged issue with Vallas can hurt the WFP with voter support for any local political seats. And this BOE debacle has all the makings of getting worse before it gets better, no? *** TIME WILL TELL SAYS JML ***

  8. Is there something wrong with Mayor Finch supporting Vallas for head of the BOE? Even I who am not a Finch fan see nothing wrong. I would expect the mayor to endorse or support a candidate for the head of the BOE.
    I have seen nothing positive from these WFP BOE members as to how to fix the BOE or arguments against what Vallas is doing. The surest way to an appointed BOE is for the WFP to keep up their tactics as this will turn a lot of people off like me. Shame on them.

  9. BRAVO!!! Poverty is conquered by the rapier of education. That’s all that matters. Not how many very lucrative contracts can be meted out to the Calamarian few.

  10. The Finch administration is shameless not to mention hilarious. Thompson is the best they could do? Really? They send a 27-year-old kid out to tell taxpaying grownups and parents about our kids and good governance? Really? A kid with 20 minutes experience paid $100,000+ to advance an education reform movement that has been dishonest, elitist and ineffectual. Talk about pranks.
    Maybe Thompson will next ask Kenny Moales if he thinks sitting on the BOE, chairing the Finance Committee and monitoring contracts is a conflict with his church school’s $225,000 contract with the BOE or the award of every last state-funded school readiness slot in Bridgeport to his schools. Now that is obstructionist … not that obstructing justice and good government has ever troubled the Finch administration.

    1. WFP is a splinter group of the Democratic party financed by unions including the BEA. They want control of the BOE to control contracts so they can reward the unions that finance them. You think the WFP board members are going to negotiate hard against the BEA that finances its effort? They will give them whatever they want. And taxpayers pay through the you know what …

    2. yahooy,
      Lower taxes will only come from constant budget review of Operating and Capital budgets on the City side and the Educational side. That is certainly not the way the City operates today. Any savings on education will not find its way to lowering our property taxes. If you disagree, what is the mechanism that will make that happen?

      Constructing new schools or retrofitting old plant or equipment at the moment consume dollars from the education budget the majority of which are supplied by the State of CT. What financial advantage do you see in moving a dollar from plant or equipment into personnel for instruction?

      More $ may be needed in multiple areas but we need to establish baselines, trends and look at the facts of the situation rather than throw out wishful opinions that satisfy our personal likes or dislikes. Right? Or wrong? Time will tell.

  11. anna, let’s say Mayor Finch wins and Vallas get his new contract, then who will get those contracts, Vallas and his group, the DTC, Finch’s friends, who anna?

  12. No doubt it seems more about the “Benjamin$” than it is the kids, regardless of which side is pushing for overall control! And the sad part is the active voters and school children’s parents or guardians really don’t have a clue one way or another. *** LORD HELP US! ***


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