Ramos Claims Finch Does The Dipsy-Doodle

Don’t ya just love this? Sweating through financial chaos, Superintendent of Schools John Ramos claims Mayor Bill Finch went behind his back to cut a concession deal with a labor union. Hey, it’s an election year. What’s a school super to do? Dude, welcome to politics. From Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post:

As the Bridgeport Board of Education struggles to come to terms with cuts that will take teachers and support services away from students, Superintendent of Schools John Ramos told his board Wednesday that Mayor Bill Finch has entered into an agreement with AFSME that guarantees no lay-offs for two years. Independent verification of this has not yet been received. The union includes teacher aids, special ed van drivers and others. Many are on the chopping block as the district tries to reconcile a $19 million plus (the number keeps growing) difference between what the city is giving them and what a current services budget is said to cost in the 2011-12 fiscal year. Union member reportedly going to vote on the deal Friday.

“We were NOT at the table yet this reported outcome impacts us profoundly,” Ramos said in his memo to the board. “We were not even told that this arrangement was being discussed. We are quantifying the damage.”



    1. Answer: In typical Bridgeport style, auditors exchanged hand grenades for marshmallows.

      Phil Smith: when you want to know about politics in Bridgeport, you’d better ask me …

  1. The City has no authority to negotiate the terms of the contract. All they can do is dictate the amount the BOE gets in their budget. It is up to the BOE. How can Finch claim to do that?

  2. Ramos has run an us against them operation since he came to Bridgeport, now it’s biting him in the ass.
    The BOE elected members are also at fault as they have created an us against them mentality. It’s been one battle after another.
    I have one question for BOE members: how could you keep extending the Ramos contract?
    It was clearly evident at the B & A hearings that it’s an us against them mentality and screw the kids. The BOE did not submit their budget to the B & A committee until a day before their scheduled hearing.
    Sherwood had made a statement which I heard saying the hell with them I already put them in for the same budget they got last year.
    The time has come and gone where the BOE has carte blanche and can request any amount they want to run the schools. They need to be more transparent and better managers of the dollars they have.
    We all know Ramos was not the real first candidate for this job but he got it anyway. To those who chose him see what you have done to our schools and our kids.

  3. Sorry Ronin, I must have been buzzed. Following in that then, doesn’t it look like Bill Finch and his sons advertising the Massage Eny on the back page of the CT Post front section?

  4. Phil Smith,
    The Board of Education audit has proceeded for about four years or more from concept to nearing conclusion (final reporting off in the distance) … with some changes in accounting for this and that or for systems that can talk to each other, but for the money spent on education in Bridgeport in that same time period, approaching one billion it’s crazy more facts, accounting and interest is not expressed.

    I know I have been supplying numbers for certain City Budget issues this year. Perhaps one or two others can do the same for me at this moment with respect to the BOE budget?

    The revenue sources are Federal grants, State equalization funds (ECS), and City tax revenues. If Federal OBAMA special funds are disappearing, frequently suggested as the real budget problem, but State funds are staying in the formula, please provide the budget expense and revenue assumptions at this moment. What does each category look like?

    What I am trying to understand is what the taxpayers of the City of Bridgeport have contributed to the operation of the school system each year since Finch came aboard. Anybody want to try? Even to guess at the number 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011? (Of course another interesting question asked by tc and others has been what Capital expenses have been committed to by City through Council and perhaps made available through bonding funds, but are not yet completed, started or ??? Topic for another time, perhaps.)

    What I am coming around to is a simpler metric to cut through the accusations, denials, emotionalism, and genuine concern: What is the size of the education budget in the City? Rounded to $200 Million or $220 Million ballpark? How many students in the public school system? I have heard the trend is a decreasing number but does it register around 20-22,000? If so, then the cost per student on average runs about $10,000 per year in Bridgeport, more or less. State of CT ECS provides our community about 80% of our operating funds annually I believe. That means each of our students is supported by $8000 from funds from around the State (taxpayers who long ago should have been asking about the value of their payments as it applies to our urban education scheme).

    And it also means City taxpayers are contributing only about $2,000 more or less to each student’s education.

    To put things in perspective, if the above assumptions and shorthand are even close to accuracy (and I ask those who know better to provide better financial expenses for all to see), then the City is contributing less than $2,000 for each student when outside grants and Federal largesse is included.

    Mayor Finch said quality education was his second most important vision in a post-election 2007 statement. (Right after lowering taxes.) Perhaps he has gone blind or lost his memory? Has Finch put the money for education where his mouth was four short years ago?

    Just think what it would mean to be a suburb where the local property taxpayer faces and annually pays 90% or more of the $12,000 or more cost per student!!! Local support of the education of youth … $2,000 from City taxpayers or $12,000 from town taxpayers … thought provoking, isn’t it???

    And then you begin to see that $30 Million of bond payments for Pension A is an important drain on current needs, and ducking other current expenses will extend that drain in future years. Who will rally to Finch’s financial defense and point out how wise, prudent, efficient and effective he has been???

  5. The BOE bus drivers and paraprofessionals are part of AFSCME local 1522–the same union local that includes Public Facilities. When our contract came up for renewal several years ago, we agreed to furlough days, pay freezes for 2 years and (I think) higher payroll deductions for healthcare. In return we were guaranteed no layoffs for the term of the contract. Where was Dr. Ramos when this contract was being negotiated??? And now he’s complaining because he can’t lay off bus drivers and kindergarten paraprofessionals??? Maybe he should lay off several superintendents instead!!!

    1. Hey lisawhite, did you walk the streets for Finch, make phone calls, knock on doors? Because your leadership sure did and they promised to do the same in September. Is that why you got a two-year no layoff deal? Quid Pro Quo, baby. Illegal. Unethical. Shame on Finch and shame on your union.

      1. You beat me to the punch, chs. Many unions took furloughs, got no increases and made concessions. Why was AFSCME the only one to get a two-year no layoff deal? Preferential treatment in return for political support. You are right, chs. Illegal, unethical.

  6. Let’s see, Ronin, perhaps you are a handsome prince in real life but currently living as a frog? … snoring in the sun? … today, you yell at a fly on the wall, perhaps because you are hungry? … then you call names because your tongue cannot reach the fly? … and then you fall asleep in economics class above … you may have found the questions too tough? … too much formaldehyde in biology class, perhaps? … be careful when the dissecting knives come out … your conversation may be all that saves you … Perhaps ZZZZZZZZZs are your defense of the Mayor’s tax deferral policies you have previously applauded?

    Your snoring causes me no problem. Finch has put you to sleep and it is difficult to wake from that type of nap. Fortunately many people out in “reality land” are waking up to the facts and figures of what has been done to them for four years. Will there be more of them than sleepyheads? We’ll see, but if there are, then you can stay asleep except to wake up and pay taxes more than you would have had Bill been more truthful with us since 2008.

    1. Anthropomorphism is the attribution of uniquely human characteristics and … Would it be to attribute the characteristics of an inanimate object to a person? … Isn’t that sort of statement generally called an insult? “Rib-it.”

  7. Can you imagine we have spent $1 billion in just over 4 years? Where has the money gone? We have a very high dropout rate, kids graduating who can barely spell. Where has the money gone?
    It’s obvious to me the entire administrative staff from Ramos on down needs to be replaced.
    Parents blame the teachers, the teachers blame the parents, the administrators blame the lack of money and the circle continues, all for what?
    If I really knew how my tax money was being spent and there were tangible results I could accept a tax increase but not under these conditions.
    When are we going to solve this problem and stop screwing around?

    1. town committee,
      Has it become clearer to you the need for total revision? This entire administration needs to be replaced for BPT to move forward. The administration and the Common Council must all be replaced. End it like a Godfather movie. I understand friendship & loyalties but this crap must end. It’s nothing personal, it’s business. If Foster is serious about change, she needs to offer a full slate city wide. Gomes is, she must also. If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.

      1. Excuse me but did I miss the slate of candidates Gomes is running? It’s one thing to say you are going to but until you do, you have no one running with you. And until you release this slate of candidates you have no idea as to whether or not they are better than what we got now.

        1. Grin,
          Gomes is formulating a city-wide slate. It will be disclosed before the primary. You, like tc, support a candidate who offers no change. I respect your intellect too much to imagine you can’t see the flaws in this strategy. You spout Caruso’s numbers & blame his loss because he offered a slate for change. Chris was out-spent & stupid. Finch came in thinking he could control Mario and the Common Council, how did he make out? Foster’s strategy is simple. “All and all you’re just another brick in the wall.”

  8. Ronin, hate to put a fly in the ointment but Gomes will be Gones. If MJF gets her sisters together women can change this whole election, they outnumber men something like 52% to 48%. Finch is a he-man-woman-hater, some say woman-handler. MJF needs to get the women to vote. It’s not that Gomes is a bad guy, he is just not ready to be Mayor yet.

    1. flyonthewall,
      Nice pun with Gomes Gone. Sadly I didn’t realize tits made MJF more qualified for office than Bill Finch. Why isn’t Sarah Palin Vice President? As far as Finch being in the He-man Woman haters club, he has been beaten up repeatedly by his past and present wives. Not much of a he-man.

  9. Does this Mayor know anything about leadership? He only knows about being self-serving. Instead of trying to work in partnership for the best interest of the kids, he is pulling backdoor deals to line up votes and workers for his election. I don’t want to see good people lose their jobs ever but given what is going on with the BOE budget, it is gross that he would pull this trick. Would a real leader do this? Would someone really interested in “schools that improve every year” do this? Would any professional do this? Minimally, give the man in charge a call and loop him in to the conversation given he is trying to close a 19 million dollar gap … geesh.

  10. Ramos is not the only guy at fault for the mess in the BOE. The 9 idiots who make up the board need to take some responsibility too. Night after night of hearings and no decisions, politics over pupils, internal bickering.

    Same holds for Finch and the City Council. They rubber stamp his (or Mario’s) decisions. Time for change all around! Let’s start by wiping the slate clean and getting the State to come in and take over City and BOE finances and management.

  11. Hey chs,
    A lot of people and unions, community organizations, community groups, etc. walked the streets, made calls and knocked on doors for Finch, even you. Do you want me to name them and the people, because I can. I have the sheets to show and prove it. And no one has promised anything to anyone. You know that so stop making false statements you can’t support. The two-year no layoff agreement came about as a result of nothing other than negotiations. Nothing more, nothing less. What is a shame is our union members are some of the lowest, if not the lowest paid in the city ($20K, some even less a year).

    Shame on you for not getting your facts first and for not looking at the reality that the real shame is the BOE was looking to lay off workers in my union who give services to students who need them the most.

    And Bridgeport Girl,
    Like the other unions, we also took furloughs, got no increases for two years and made concessions. AFSCME got a two-year no-layoff agreement through negotiations and finally wound up with the increase in the PCS. As each city union agreed to the 25% increase in the PCS it made it more difficult for our union. And our union leaders could not rest easy with having over 110 of our members getting layoffs, many of them live in Bridgeport. And they provide the direct services to the children in the community. There was no preferential treatment. My union leaders fought harder to stay away from the PCS increase and that is how we got the two years.

    Anything illegal or unethical is not at our doorstep. If you want to find anything illegal or unethical look at the administration in the BOE and the nine members who make decisions without the REAL budgets/numbers/facts in front of them. Really!

  12. *** Are those union members on the lower paying scales usually the first to get laid off? And do most live in Bpt. & are registered voters? *** Political sense for the Mayor during an election year! *** SOS ***


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