School Board Switches Gears On Student Recognition

From Board of Education Chair John Weldon:

As many are aware, in mid-February, the Bridgeport Board of Education changed its by-laws. One of the changes was a removal from our Regular Meeting Agenda of student recognitions and performances, as well as reports from the Student Representatives to the Board.

Contrary to what some have said, this was not a maneuver to silence the voices of our student body–Student Representatives do still attend BOE meetings and now are asked to participate in deliberations so they can be a part of the decision-making process. Rather, the purpose for the change was two-fold:

1.) To keep our regular business meetings focused on actionable business items; and 2.) Most importantly, to give school, student and staff recognitions their own dedicated spotlight so they aren’t overshadowed by anything else. To that end, another bylaw change is a commitment by the Board to providing that spotlight at least four times per year. In keeping with that, we have scheduled the first such spotlight on student performances, as well as school, student and staff achievement, for 6:00 p.m. on Monday, March 25th at Cesar Batalla School, located at 606 Howard Ave. in Bridgeport.

The event will include reports by Student Representatives to the Board, performances by the Roosevelt School Drumline, Batalla School Modern Band and Harding High School Choir, along with a host of student staff and community recognitions. All are welcome to attend to see a sample of the many great things that are happening in Bridgeport Public Schools.

CT Post education reporter Linda Conner Lambeck filed this story:

The city’s school board chairman waited until 4 p.m. on a Friday to announce he was canceling the board’s regular business meeting and replacing it with a student showcase on Monday.

It is an event Board Chairman John Weldon said has been in the planning stages for the last couple of weeks.

Weldon said the move was in keeping with new bylaws that put him in charge of meetings and stripped regular meetings of student and staff recognitions and high school student reports.

… “This is a blatant attempt by Chair Weldon and his cohort to deny members of the public an opportunity to speak to the Board on issues impacting our 20,400 students, parents and staff,” (school board member Maria) Pereira said. “This cancellation of another regular meeting even violates the illegal bylaws passed by Chair Weldon and his cohort.”

Full story here.

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4 comments

  1. We normally receive our board packets on Thursday, however I did not receive it yesterday. I knew immediately that King John Weldon and his subjects, Jessica Martinez, Hernan Illingworth, Sybil Allen, Chris Taylor and possible Lombard, were up to no good.

    I called the superintendent’s office at 10:15 AM to ask why our board packets were not received. Timothy Grasty told me they were not directed to work on board packets and had not received an agenda. Dr. Johnson and John Didinato were both out of the district. I requested the administrator in charge find out what is going on and to get back to me.

    As secretary, Joe Sokolovic received an email at 3:00 PM. today requesting he sign a regular meeting cancelation, sign a special meeting notice for 5:30 PM on Monday with two business items that were supposed to be on the regular meeting agenda. The second notice was for a Public Hearing on student, staff, and community member achievement.

    Joe Sokolovic refused to sign the Public Hearing notice because their own illegal bylaws states a Public Hearing can only be held with five days notice.

    John Weldon then switched the Public Hearing to a Special Meeting and Joe Sokolovic signed, which he should not have.

    We only hold 20 regular meetings per year where the public is allowed to address the Board. Three of the first six regular meetings have not been held year to date. That is a 50% cancellation rate.

    The very first meeting held in January 2019, Jessica Martinez, Hernan Illingworth, Chris Taylor and Sybil Allen did not show up, therefore a quorum could not be reached. Since John Weldon’s illegal bylaws were passed, he has canceled two of three regular meetings.

    I just spoke with John Bagley who is identified as being recognized on Monday. He had no idea what I was talking about, checked his email to make sure he hadn’t missed something, he found nothing, and said he would not attend because he would not be used as their prop.

  2. Even King Weldon’s illegal bylaws state the following:

    Posting of Agenda

    B. The Chairman has sole discretion to cancel any posted or scheduled regular or special meeting if, in the Chairman’s judgement it is deemed that doing so would be in the best interest of the public, staff or Board members as it related to INCLEMENT WEATHER, POTENTIAL LACK OF A QUORUM, OR LACK OF SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO EFFICIENTLY CONDUCT BUSINESS.

    First, the regular meeting was never “posted” or “scheduled,” therefore how can King Weldon cancel it.

    Second, clearly King Weldon is not worried about inclement weather because he scheduled two special meetings in the place of the regular meeting.

    Third, clearly King Weldon is not concerned about achieving a quorum because both special meetings he scheduled will require a quorum, and he is now quoted in the CT Post stating he has confirmed a quorum will be present.

    Fourth, clearly he didn’t cancel the regular meeting because of a lack of sufficient information to efficiently conduct business because the first special meeting has two business items with supporting documentation provided.

    In closing, King Weldon and his subjects continue to provide us with great evidence for our lawsuit.

  3. John Weldon is a charlatan.

    There are no student representatives on the school board. King Weldon and his subjects eliminated the policy which created student representatives. The policy they eliminated ALWAYS allowed them to participate in debate, however clearly they cannot vote. They may not deliver reports or participate in deliberation because they do not exist.

    At our last meeting, these poor high school students sat there all night, did not participate in deliberation, and sat there looking bored and miserable.

    A staff person told me she felt so sorry for them because they were just being used by King Weldon and his subjects.

  4. I was just informed by CT Post reporter, Linda Lambeck, that John Weldon sent her an email at 3:30 PM informing her that Monday’s regular meeting was being canceled.

    I am an elected school board member and Dr. Johnson’s staff did not send us notice of the cancelation until 4:32 PM on a late Friday afternoon.

    Dr. Johnson and her staff are 100% involved in this treacherous, deceitful and unethical behavior.

    Dr. Johnson has completely capitulated to the corrupt Denocraric Machine. She is 100% in Mayor Ganim’s, Mario Testa’s, and King John Weldon’s back pocket.

    She has turned her back on our 20,400 students, our 30,000 parents, and 2,700 staff members.

    For the reasons identified above, she must submit her resignation. She must go.

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