The organizational meeting of the nine-member Board of Education to select officers will take place Monday, 6 p.m. at the Aquaculture School. Current Chair John Weldon faces competition from Jessica Martinez. Five votes are required to lead the board.
Mayor Joe Ganim will chair the organizational meeting.
The board chairmanship loaded with personality disputes has been something of a whip-lashing revolving door with about seven leaders the past six years, so if Martinez supplants Weldon it’s just a matter of course. Two new members Bobbi Brown and Albert Benejan will attend their first meeting Monday night.
Call this school board the post Maria Pereira era, the political lightning rod whose passion now occupies a City Council seat representing the Upper East Side. That phew! you heard is from school board members who’ll no longer face her probing interrogations. Not on the school board, at least.
School board member Joe Sokolovic, who was elected in 2017 running on the Republican and Working Families Party lines, writes his vote may be the only one he receives but he’ll enter his name as chair, anyway.
On Dec. 9, I will be nominating myself, Joseph Sokolovic, for the position of chair of the Bridgeport Board of Education.
I am qualified to be chair for the following reasons:
I am the chair of three active committees;
These committees have held over 95 percent of their meetings. These committees have worked together and I have never stifled debate. The committees I chair get things done. I chaired some contentious meetings and many heated discussions were brought under control fairly and within the confines of Roberts’ Rules of Order. All this without curtailing members’ rights to debate. Said committees are responsible for the majority of member-driven policy changes and initiatives
I have no conflicts of interest. I will lobby only for the student of Bridgeport Public Schools as there is only a limited amount of funds available for education. Having a split loyalty is too big a conflict for the position of chair;
I am the only sitting member of the board to vote against the new bylaws that have resulted in taking away our children’s seat at the table; we no longer hear their voices at our meetings. Also, the public has lost numerous public speaking opportunities and chances to obtain updates on items such as the budget and the permanent superintendent search. All the aforementioned issues are due to the haphazard way the bylaws were passed, vesting unilateral power to the chairperson. This was again approved by all the returning board members except for myself, Joseph Sokolovic.
If selected as chair, I promise never to needlessly cancel a meeting and rob the public of their rights to speak at a regular board meeting. I will never stifle the minority voice. I will apply the rules fairly and equitably to all members whether they support my issues or not, or whether I agree with their opinions or not. I will fairly and dispassionately allow all voices to be heard. I will also work just as hard as I have, if not harder than I have, over the last two years, to attend every meeting humanly possible.
I will likely be the only vote I receive, but I must nominate and vote for myself, for I am what’s best for this leadership position. The children of Bridgeport deserve better than canceled meetings, split loyalties and sporadic attendance. I am tired of choosing between two bad options and deciding what’s the least worst. Our children deserve the very best.