News release from State Senator Marilyn Moore:
Today, state Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport) gave her support for a piece of legislation to establish a process for removing members of local and regional Boards of Education (BOE) in certain circumstances. The legislation is timely due to recent events in Bridgeport in which a member of the BOE was removed from their position as chair.
“This legislation will provide regional and local Boards of Education a uniform process to utilize in the unfortunate event a member of their BOE conducts themselves in a way inconsistent with the values of the position,” said Sen. Moore. “The people who sit on the board make crucial decisions that affect our children and their futures. Therefore, it is imperative the folks who sit on these boards are focused on the task at hand and exhibit professional behavior at all times.”
The bill, see here, received a public hearing during Monday’s Education Committee meeting. The next step in the legislative process for RB 393 would be a vote in the Education Committee. The bill would address BOE removal, “whenever complaint is made in writing to a local or regional board of education that a member of such board has been convicted of a crime or is guilty of misconduct or wilful and material neglect of duty in the conduct of such board member’s office,” according to the current bill’s language.
The bill’s language continues: “such board shall make such investigation of the charges as such board deems proper, and shall, if such board is of the opinion that the evidence obtained warrants such action, prepare a statement in writing of the charges against such board member, together with a citation in the name of the state, commanding such board member to appear before such board at a date named in the citation and show cause, if any, why such board member should not be removed from office as provided in this section.” If passed, this legislation would go into effect on October 1, 2020.
On March 2, the Bridgeport BOE removed Jessica Martinez as chair of the board after a photograph of her using an illegal substance surfaced on social media. Martinez however, remains an elected member of the board and is up for reelection next year.