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State Education Board To Probe Charter School Group

June 30th, 2014 · 26 Comments · Education, News and Events

From Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post:

The state Board of Education agreed unanimously Monday to hire an attorney to investigate the group that help run Bridgeport’s Dunbar school and several other schools once it was learned its director had a criminal record and lied about having a doctorate.

Not only that, some 17 years after the state approved its first charter school, it was announced by Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor that the state-funded but independently operated charter schools would also undergo thorough personnel background checks and would be subject to nepotism policies.

The board will hire Frederick L. Dorsey, a Hartford attorney, to serve as a special investigator to not only look at FUSE’s financial records, but also:

Read more here.


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26 Comments so far ↓

  • Follow the Money

    How did the State ever allow State BOE member Andrea Comer to serve on this board? Talk about blowing a FUSE!

  • John Marshall Lee

    The folks in this picture look nothing like the 15-20 students, parents and professionals who commented on the “turnaround” experience at Dunbar during the past year. Were any advocates for Jumoke Dunbar present in Hartford today?

    I was present at Dunbar last Friday for a brief time in the morning to see what caused Clyde Nicholson to have a conversion on the subject of Dunbar administration. The kids were not in school, but the teachers and administrators were in their own professional training sessions.

    Could it be schedules were not crosschecked when meetings were set up? In fact, has there been any routine interaction between the public school administration and the local school administrators? The article does not make that clear, but … time will tell.

  • Pete Spain

    Seems the State Dept of Education is looking into this situation.

    I wonder why they didn’t side with BOE SPY’s assertion it is the responsibility of the Bridgeport BOE? Remember?

    “BOE SPY // Jun 23, 2014 at 7:27 am
    Pete–With any job the responsibility to ask the questions you want to know and verify the answers falls on the employer. The person doing the hiring. The BOE should have asked those questions. This is their failure not Sharpe’s.”


    Good, it is important to resolve these things once and for all. If Sharpe stole then he should be punished. If he did not, he will be vindicated. I especially like the nepotism clause. Will the BBOE do the same checking? It is not like a former mayor and his wife worked for the BOE before and after his term as mayor. If you want to simplify your search, look for relationships between the city’s workers who act as union leadership or commissioners and city bigwigs. It is fun to see people so upset about these issues in the charter schools and not the city council or BOE in general.
    As far as Pete’s question goes, say I hire an accused conman and my company wants to make sure he did not rob me. That does not preclude the police or the company from investigating. That is a good idea. I may be partially responsible for the problem because I failed to do any kind of employee vetting but that does not absolve the conman from any crimes, if any, he has committed. The conman needs to answer for his actions and I would need to answer to my bosses for my choices.
    Sharpe did lie or omitted things about his personal life. This does not mean he did anything else wrong. What will be fun to see is if the only shady thing Sharpe did is lie about his credentials, will the anti-charter people spin it to make him guilty of something or change their mind about the FUSE company. If Sharpe did steal and he is no longer involved with FUSE, is the company at fault for Sharpe’s actions?
    Remember when the anti-everything folks swore up and down Vallas would be removed as Super by the courts and after wasting tons of BOE money pursuing this action the courts did not remove Vallas. They still claim victory because he left regardless of the circumstances and still claim to be correct. I am sure someone will post the court decided Vallas needed to be challenged administratively before the courts were involved. This only means it would be up to the guy who hired Vallas to decide if he were qualified for the job. Then the court would have to decide if he had the right to make that choice.

    • BOE SPY

      The Moales fiasco went the same way. The only investigation or printed material say the billing problem was an error. Yet these people continue to yell and scream fraud and hold the BBOE at no fault. The BBOE are the kind of people everything bad JUST happens to.

  • Pete Spain

    BOE SPY,
    You erroneously attributed blame to the Bridgeport Board of Education members for not having properly vetted Michael Sharpe.

    You were wrong.

    No, instead of admitting you were wrong, you try to kick up dust to conflate different issues. You’re good at that!

    You blather on, pointing to well-known old news, and then try to blame the Bridgeport BOE, which was headed by Moales at the time of reported overbilling by his daycare centers, as found by an internal audit of the State DOE, for Moales’ overbilling. Follow?

    BOE SPY, I’m tired of your pathetic attempts on OIB to dump on the public schools in Bridgeport, all the time.

    Yes, lots of room for improvement. Yes, lots of urgency for parents of school children now. Yes, lots of need for Bridgeport to stop being the only municipality in CT that fails (two years running) to meet the state-required MBR. On and on.

    So why not blame Joe Larcheveque, Howard Gardner, Andre Baker and Dave Hennessey for this? And blame them too for the 2012 Moales’ overbilling? Oops, they weren’t members of the BOE then, they’ve only been members for about six months.

    Wait, maybe then try to blame the BOE members at the time of the documented overbilling, even though those members, as far as all the information reported to date, had no idea the overbilling was going on at Moales’ daycare centers, because their chairman Rev Moales did not inform the BOE the State had discovered this. He did enlist the help of then-Superintendent Vallas, though. That’s cool with you, right?

    As far as I can tell, you offer nothing resembling a viable solution to help Bridgeport and our state deal with the serious issues hampering progress for the public education system in the state’s most populous municipality.

    Would you care to try to?

    • BOE SPY

      Now Pete, sticks and stones. You remind me of one of those parents I knew as a kid, the ones who had kids who could do no wrong. There was always a reason their kids got in trouble. It wasn’t that their kids were derelicts it was those bad neighbor kids and the BOE is your kid.
      I have a solution to our education problem. That solution is teacher accountability, an end to tenure and charter schools. I missed the part where you gave your comprehensive solution. I saw the part about increased spending but many systems that spend less per student than ours have measurably better results. I did not blame our current BOE for the Moales fiasco. This kind of failure has haunted our BOE for decades. I am sorry if I missed that the BOE did a background check on Sharpe. Oh that is right, they didn’t. I do not know why you love the BOE so much but if they want to impress me they need to do more than tickle my butt with a feather. I am glad that works for you. Keep up the good work of keeping the system just as it is. Our kids need fewer people like you.

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Meagan DeSombre, you are still a kid. Does your kid brother–Moales–”tickle” your butt with a feather? The only thing Pete Spain got wrong was believing you were a man.

      • Pete Spain

        “I did not blame our current BOE for the Moales fiasco.”

        Really, BOE Spy?

        BOE SPY // May 29, 2014 at 7:29 pm
        “… The CO and zoning is little more than a rubber stamp. Pelto asks for a full-fledged investigation. I thought the billing error was found due to a full-fledged investigation. It is not up to Finch to ensure state laws are equitably enforced and taxpayer funds properly monitored. The mayor does not really ensure city laws are equitably enforced. The police do. The state needs to equitably enforce its laws and the BOE needs to be sure taxpayer funds are properly monitored. If the BOE were properly monitoring taxpayer funds they would not have paid Kingdom’s Little Ones for kids who were not in the BOE’s program in the first place.”

        • BOE SPY

          The current BOE inherited that problem from the BOE. I should have been clearer. When I said ‘the BOE needs to be sure taxpayer funds are properly monitored,’ I was talking about the BOE that signed the check.
          Is there any news on the BOE’s current financial situation? What is the deficit up to? Vallas left them with a balanced budget four(?) months ago. What have they managed to do in four months? I think I remember Fran saying something like ‘the teachers deserve this raise and we have the money for it.’ Was that a lie?
          Another interest tidbit. BPT schools have about 4200 out of 22,000 (20%) kids in summer school and has a 23% dropout rate. I wonder if these are the same kids. The teachers are getting $37.50/hr to redo the job they should have done in the first place. They are even having summer school for gym, a class that is cancelled every time they use the gym as an auditorium in the smaller schools. In your opinion, is this a prudent use of funds? Couldn’t the kid ‘make up’ a gym credit by participating in an organized school sport for a semester?
          Is it unfair of me to ask the tough questions? I am just trying to mirror my hero Carmen Lopez. Why is this bad? Am I asking the wrong questions of the wrong people?

    • Ron Mackey

      Pete Spain, boy did you get this one right about BOE SPY, “kick up dust to conflate different issues.” I just want to know who is paying BOE SPY to make all of his postings.

      • BOE SPY

        Ron–No one pays me. I just love doing it Who pays Pete to post? Or is he supporting a friend, family member or significant other who works for the BOE? Even if someone did pay me (and they don’t), that in itself would not discount my opinions. None of you seem to have the same problem with Pelto’s blogs and you often post quotes from him on OIB. Newspaper reporters get paid to write their stories. That does not make what you read in the paper any less true. These are just my own personal observations and beliefs. No more, no less.
        It seems my posts cause you an unhealthy level of distress. In order to alleviate that, I am from now on to perpetuity forbidding you from reading my posts.

        • LennieGrimaldi

          BOE SPY, please keep posting. Ron Mackey, you too!

        • Ron Mackey

          BOE SPY, stay on those talking points, “No one pays me. I just love doing it.” Somebody is paying you for your comments. BOE SPY, you are the one with an unhealthy level of distress trying to comment on EVERYTHING about the BOE and Mayor Finch.

          • BOE SPY

            Not true again, Ron. I think the Pleasure Beach water taxi was a stupid idea. Check that article. You only see what you look for and things that reinforce your preconceived ideas (stereotypes). I have criticized Finch on many things or not posted if I agreed with criticisms of him. But if I make a post on a BOE issue then I am a ‘Finchette.’ I am a Republican. I wouldn’t vote for Finch or Malloy if they were the only ones running. You, on the other hand?

        • Pete Spain

          Since I am who I post as, and since I’ve previously explained my background and stated here neither I nor my spouse nor relatives, nor any business associates receive any income from the City of Bridgeport, its BOE, or the State of Connecticut or any of its departments, the question remains …

          Who are you, BOE SPY?

          If your motivations are so straightforward and non-conflicted, why not at long last be a grown-up and use your real name?

          You just explained you post so passionately here because you just “love doing it.”

          Well then, what’s to hide?

          • BOE SPY

            Because I work for the BOE, silly. I may be crazy but I am not stupid. How about this Pete, You write a blatant and direct criticism of your bosses and something they do then put it in the paper. There must be something they do that is ‘stupid.’ Write an op-ed piece about it and put it in the Post. You went to Yale. Would you consider that ‘smart?’
            Now what difference does it make who I am? I am just ‘some guy/gal/tranny.’ A big nobody. If you disagree with my opinion, fine. It is like arguing religion. Neither of us is going to change the opinion of the other or anyone else for that matter. People are pissed off about their taxes and the BOE’s poor performance. That is what is going to drive their opinions on the matter.


    Pete–you are right about one thing. I have never admitted to being wrong. I was wrong about something.
    People who send their kids to the charters should have to pay for the transportation. That is only fair and if only those, like me, who could afford to send their kids to charters were able to only Wealthy, Well mannered, Wiley, Working kids could go to those schools. We should call them the ‘W’ schools because all the adjectives that describe those kids start with W. The Broke kids would have to go to the neighbor-HOOD schools. The BOE schools would have the BomBastic, Broke, Bothersome kids. The B in BOE would have a new meaning. That is an ingenious idea Pete and I support it 100%. It is good to see the both of us on the same page.

    • Pete Spain

      BOE SPY,
      You’ve really gone off the deep end.

      On June 30 (above), you stated the following:

      “I have a solution to our education problem. That solution is teacher accountability, an end to tenure and charter schools.”

      Now you’re saying let’s have charter schools for “only wealthy, well mannered … working kids …” …?

      First, blame the BOE.
      Second, blame the teachers.
      Third, blame those who are poor.


      • BOE SPY

        Pete–that tirade was tongue in cheek. You do not seem to have a good eye for parody or sarcasm. I was pointing out an unforeseen consequences of your charter school, pay for play desire. Did you notice all the W’s as in white and B’s as in black were capitalized? If you had to pay to send your kids to these schools they would only be accessible to those who could afford them. For all intents and purposes, you would be making segregated schools, primarily by income and secondly by race. Of course, if parents did pay to send their kids to these schools you could get a group of students and parents who are more invested in education. Also, just a little tip, you can copy/paste the quotes from my post to yours. Then you would have had the connotative and denotative meaning of my statements. I will make an attempt to be more literal so as to not confuse you in the future.


    This is a good example of the hypocrisy that plagues our educational system and its proponents. Pete and Ron post to inform us of the importance of saving education by throwing money at the problem, so the BOE can afford to do the same thing they have always done. Our two saviors do this in a straightforward way and without confliction. They do it with all the strength and honor of a knight of Camelot, carrying the banner of education in to the battle for increased finances.
    I, on the other hand, the Mordred of the story, can only be motivated by greed, collusion, coercion and/or insanity. It is impossible I would see the solution to our educational problem as going back to basics, raising the caliber of our school teachers and a general revamp of the system. I remember a time when education was not a continuous party. Our school supplies consisted of a pencil, notebook and flashcards. Schools were not responsible for a child’s every need. You went to school, sat at a desk and did work. You couldn’t wear hats, chew gum, speak out of turn or go to the bathroom without permission. School was a kid prison. If you fail at this kid prison you went to a more intense kid prison. Teachers were disciplinarians, principals were judge and jury and gym teachers were executioners. The result of this was we did exactly what they forced us to do.

    • Pete Spain

      BOE SPY,
      That I and many others believe Bridgeport should uphold its promise and legal obligation to fulfill the MBR in funding its public schools is hardly “throwing money at the problem.”

      Bridgeport is the only municipality in the state that has not met its MBR two years running. This is not a joke, as much as you’d like it to be. It is a failure of governance and prudent planning. The question is HOW COME Bridgeport gets away with this, and no other place does?

      • BOE SPY

        So you blather on, pointing to well-known old news. Instead of admitting you were wrong, you try to kick up dust to conflate different issues. You’re good at that!
        We, you, Ron and I, should all vote Republican. You say other cities meet their MBR. Eleven Towns And Cities Must Increase Their Education Spending to meet MBR. All Dem.

        Malloy (D) is destroying education, per you. Republican is the way to education equality.

        • Pete Spain

          BOE SPY,
          When you use my words, how about a little attribution?

          The MBR goes to heart of your “throw money at it” blather.

          But the municipalities you cite met their MBR.

          So dare I ask, what’s your point?

          I’m not even sure I believe you’re a Republican or a Bridgeport resident. I think you’re just here to confuse the issues related to public education in Bridgeport.

          Let’s take your “kid’s prison” idea: Your idea raises the fundamental question: Why do we have public schools in this city, state, country? Taking your idea seriously for a moment, we might wonder: Why not start with the kids in prison, and then have them earn their way out through academic performance measured … how? Maybe some of the prisoners would somehow develop academically through osmosis, with little or no professional instruction (God forbid from anyone in a union), little or no subject-rich academic curriculum that includes the arts and athletics (that might take away time from preparing for the standardized test!). I think your “prison” idea is too costly. I say just raise the children with wolves.

          After all, why spend a dime on public education, BOE SPY, especially if that spending might have to raise, historically, in line with inflation, to three dimes in 20 years? That’s six nickels more than you want to spend anyway, right?

          Voting merely on party line is dumb, but I wouldn’t put it past you.

          • BOE SPY

            I have kids in the BPT system. That is why this concerns me. I also pay taxes, local and state. That would make me invested. What IS your investment? The prison analogy was from the kid’s point of view. We really did not get a ‘point of view.’ They said and we did. That was how it worked. I am in favor of diverse education (art, music, gym) if we can but I do see these as secondary to the three R’s. If we had to cut one or the other, I would pick art. The BOE has gutted industrial arts in favor of more whimsical arts. I would not have made that choice. The auto shop at Central is now a ceramics shop. I believe that is a bad idea. Academically speaking, auto shop is tied to reading, history, math, science, economics, design, engineering and so much more. A student interested in auto shop would tend to be encouraged to excel in these other subjects. Can you explain what connection ceramics would have to academics?

            Inflation may be outpacing teachers’ raises and educational spending but other departments and city workers are taking pay cuts and these are workers and departments that do NOT have a 35% failure rate.

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