The Paul Vallas Watch–Is Sandra On The Kase? School Board Sets Meetings

Paul Vallas
Paul Vallas testifies in court last week during a hearing. Connecticut Post photo.

City schools are off for the summer, but the administrative leadership of schools is a study in court decisions, legal maneuverings and backup plans with the future of Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas a giant question mark. The Board of Education has special meetings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Room 305 of City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace, according to the school board website, in anticipation of addressing the future of a school chief. Vallas is scheduled to take live calls Tuesday on Bridgeport Now, the cable show co-hosted by Jennifer Buchanan. The program starts 8 p.m. on Channel 88. It is also streamed live at The number to call in is 203-345-0103.

Meanwhile, the State Board of Education had considered taking up the Vallas matter today (Monday) in executive session, according to the agenda item, “Pending Litigation: Consideration of Action regarding Carmen L. Lopez et al. v. Paul Vallas” but Board Chairman Allan Taylor removed it from the agenda, according to the Connecticut Post.

Instead it will consider a wordy resolution that directs Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor to ask Attorney General George Jepson to take steps he deems appropriate and necessary to present the board and commissioner’s concerns regarding the court’s decisions about the board’s authority and prior decisions.

Last week Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ordered Vallas off the job following her prior decision that he lacks the proper state legal certification to lead schools. The court challenge of Vallas’ credentials was brought by retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez, a city resident. Bellis’ decision is under appeal by city lawyers who’ve requested a hearing from the Connecticut Supreme Court to keep Vallas on the job.

Vallas is still in charge of schools for now as a result of the city’s legal overture, but the clock is winding down to keep Vallas in place. What will the school board do if it’s forced to find a Vallas replacement? Sandra Kase, who Vallas brought to Bridgeport as chief administrative officer, is on the short list. She’s even acceptable to Bridgeport Education Association leadership, representing unionized teachers, opposed to Vallas.

Kase has extensive experience working in urban districts. In her early career she served as a Bronx, New York classroom teacher eventually serving as a principal in the South Bronx. She received praise for turning around low-performing schools. Her work was noticed by Vallas when he was in charge of schools in Philadelphia.

If Vallas cannot serve as super, will Kase take the job, if offered? What role would the city school board, and possibly the state school board, carve out for Vallas if he cannot technically hold the title of school chief? Would he stick around as a highly paid consultant while the city appeals the court decision to remove him?

Democrats on the school board hold a slim 5-4 majority on most contentious votes over members of the Connecticut Working Families Party. Five school board seats are on the line this November so the future of the school board makeup, as well as the school chief, is also a question mark.



  1. Lennie, Paul Vallas will stay because the mayor needs him because there is too much money involved so he will be given another title and Sandra Kase will have Vallas’ title but Vallas will be making the decisions.

    1. Ron, sounds like when John Stafstrom was DTC chairman and had to step aside to become the VICE chairman. Cynthia White became the chairperson in name only. Stafstrom ran the DTC until our ‘friend’ Mario unseated him (regretfully, I was part of that dynamic).

      1. Bob, that’s correct, the powers that be will not give up power, it has to be taken from them. You have the name wrong, it is not Cynthia White it was Cynthia King Jenkins, sadly Cynthia has passed away.

  2. Not so sure, Ron. Vallas goes where the money is. If Moales tries any funny business with the budget, people may start asking more questions about his conflicts of interest and all the money that is going to private religious schools controlled by him and members of his family.

  3. There are hundreds of millions of dollars that are planned to be spent on the building of schools. Do we want the Finch Administration and those people who tell them what to do to have anything to do with these projects? I am suspicious.

    1. Great observation, yahooy! Those ‘projects’ have received authorization for bonding by the CC. Do you see any track record of what the details were when presented? What year were the renovations or brand-new schools authorized? What group is attending to the management and efficiencies involved? With projects completing in 2013 and those running through 2018, I estimate over $600 million is involved. Though State shares most of the funding, the City will incur significant debt that requires repayment.

      Anybody hear about the School Building Committee and its Finance sub-committee? What is their Mission? Who are all the members? When do they meet? Where are their minutes kept? (There is a folder in the City Clerk office for 2013 for these minutes but as of two weeks ago, there was nothing in that folder.) And what is the total of money they oversee? This action is ongoing. Allay your suspicions. Hop into the fray. Start attending meetings, reading minutes and connecting the dollars and the decisions. Time will tell.

        1. Do you have a dictionary? When requesting information, do you think to use the word ‘please?’ How about ‘deliver yourself from’ or ‘relieve’ as two examples? Hopefully, this response is brief enough and on topic.
          More info. This committee is likely meeting this week. See if the City notes it on their web site. Time will tell.

          1. I know what “allay” means. This is my way of telling you to tone down your pedantic rhetoric so your usual worthy message can be understood by all. You have seen I am not the only poster who holds this impression.
            Arrogance is an obstacle.

          2. Back to basics. When your articles are critical of whatever and whomever, often, if not usually, does it mean your frame of reference suggests people who disagree with you only write in “pedantic rhetoric?” Or you are meant to be someone else’s editor?
            And as you see, when you post a message of significant “brevity,” you can easily be misunderstood, right? As someone whose purpose is to inform often with some background, I can be ignored by those who want to only read “short stories.”
            Not really picking on you, just suggesting you ignore my writing and then you can avoid getting excited and having to “tone down” yourself. And as far as arrogance is concerned, when you point one finger at me, you ought to reference the three other fingers pointed back in your own direction.
            By the way, there are many obstacles, and I realize that so I am committed to the long run.

            Today I drove to New Britain to take a look at a recent court decision with important effect for Bridgeport. Hope to have an article for tomorrow. I apologize for thinking there was a City Council meeting tonight and perhaps misleading others to attend. Forgive me please. Time will tell.

  4. Possible strategy as posted on CT Post:
    Prediction … state BOE is meeting in executive session today. Pryor creates new state-funded position for Vallas, Grand PooBah or very special special master.

    State BOE drones rubber stamp Pryor ploy. They name Kase super. Vallas controls Kase behind the curtain. Pryor tells Finch to tell Moales to go forward. Moales gets a 5 to 4 vote in favor. See how the state still controls BPS? So much for court decisions. And now we all know why our commissioner is a lawyer.

  5. Although I can’t answer JML’s questions about the Building committee or their lack of minutes, everyone should be aware the Roosevelt School replacement is already a year behind schedule, the Longfellow School replacement project hasn’t even begun, and keep in mind the incredible boondoggle the repairs to Columbus School became. Remember? Years and years behind schedule for REPAIRS and huge cost overruns.

    The scary part is that new Regional Military Academy is opening with 150 students in space in the STEM School complex and is supposed to move into the swing school for school year 2014- 2015. The swing school is currently housing the students from Roosevelt School and since there is no way for their new school to be complete by next fall, what happens to the Roosevelt students and where will the Military Academy go? And by the way, remember the Longfellow students are currently being housed in three different schools.

    What a mess!!!

  6. From:

    The future is brighter in Bridgeport today because of the dedication, leadership and collaboration of countless people from government agencies, city committees, and community groups. The goal is to modernize Bridgeport schools and prepare our children for living in the 21st century.
    MAYOR: The Honorable Bill Finch
    CITY COUNCIL: Thomas McCarthy, City Council President; Susan T. Brannelly, Steven J. Stafstrom, Jr., *Jack O. Banta, Denese Taylor-Moye, M. Evette Brantley, John W. Olson, Howard Austin, Sr., Michelle A. Lyons, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia, Warren Blunt, Richard Bonney, Angel M. DePara, Jr., Carlos Silva, Manual Ayala, *Lydia N. Martinez, Michael J. Marella, Jr., Richard m. Paoletto, Jr., Andre F. Baker, Jr., *James Holloway
    BOARD OF EDUCATION: Paul G. Vallas, Superintendent, *Kenneth Moales, Jr., Jacqueline Kelleher, *Hernan Illingworth, Sauda Baraka, John Bagley, Leticia Colon, Thomas A. Mulligan Jr., Maria Pereira, Bobby Simmons
    CITY STAFF: *Charlie Carroll, Director of Public Facilities, David Kooris, Director Office Of Planning and Economic Development, *Jorge Garcia, Deputy Director of Public Facilities, *Jon Urquidi P.E., City Engineer, Anne Kelly-Lenz, Chief Financial Officer.
    PROGRAM MANAGEMENT: O&G Industries, Inc., Program Management; Staff: Scott Baillie, Project Executive; Larry Schilling, Program Manager; Robert Hedman, Program Manager; Iveles Aguilar, FF&E Coordinator & Assistant Program Manager; Michele Otero, Administrative Assistant
    * Denotes member of School Building Committee

    So JML, there is your school building committee. Was it that difficult?
    *Jack O. Banta – City Council
    *Lydia N. Martinez – City Council
    *James Holloway – City Council
    *Kenneth Moales, Jr. – BOE
    *Hernan Illingworth – BOE
    *Charlie Carroll, Director of Public Facilities
    *Jorge Garcia, Deputy Director of Public Facilities
    *Jon Urquidi P.E., City Engineer

    1. Thanks for sharing the info from Bright Futures. As recently as 60 days ago, the site was not posting this current picture. I expect we will soon see more on that site as well.

      Meeting is Thursday at 4:00 PM in Morton Center, I have been told. And minutes will be forthcoming as well, it’s reported. Mission, we can figure from meeting commentary. And money for the multiple projects should be shown soon as well. Isn’t that positive and easy also, with an OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT goal in mind? Thanks again for posting your homework. Time will tell.

        1. Another fact-based posting from BRG? “Ripping the taxpayers off” may be happening but that’s an unsupported opinion. Some facts, please?
          Since when have you been caring about taxpayers? Actually Bob Walsh provides evidence some of OATs is taking root in the city. Time will tell.

  7. *** The Bpt School System, its BOE, Supt. Vallas/Admin. Teachers/Staff/Union, Finch/Admin. Bpt. Politics, Outside Interest, City’s Legal Dept and Parents, kids and concerned taxpayers all make for a “hit” Reality Show or Soap Opera straight out of Zombieland! *** You Just Can’t Make Up Stuff Like This, NO? ***


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