When A Piranha Becomes Attendance Hawk, Check Out Scorecard Of School Board Members

Attendance hawk Maria Pereira, the self-proclaimed piranha of city politics, provided a deep dive into the show-up rate of City Council members last week. Now, she shares the attendance record of the Board of Education, the elected board she recently departed to join the city’s legislative body

The attendance records below, compiled by Pereira, highlights regular school board meetings as well as various committees covering the two-year period ending November 30.

Keep in mind that Pereira, John Weldon, Jessica Martinez, Joe Sokolovic, Hernan Illingworth, Chris Taylor and Sybil Allen served completely during the two-year period of calculations. Dennis Bradley, Ben Walker, Joseph Lombard and LaMar Kennedy did not.

The attendance focus Pereira places on regular meetings is based on the percentage rate of actual meetings conducted during their respective service time.

A different standard is applied for committee chairs because only they can call committee meetings. For instance, the Personnel Committee chaired by Illingworth reflects 80 percent attendance rate based on eight meetings attended for 10 required.

Pereira’s calculations below highlights in yellow attendance below 90 percent, a baseline she argues is relevant to student achievement. She notes, “Our students need to maintain a 90% attendance rate to pass all subjects for a school year.”

If any past or present school board members take issue with Pereira’s calculations or believe extenuating circumstances impacted attendance, please let us know.

Note: a clarification about “attendance rate” for Finance Committee Chair Martinez, below, should reflect 40 percent and not 100 percent because Pereira’s calculation standard here is based on meetings attended (8) for meetings required (20). Pereira requested that this number be updated.



  1. That’s great, now we have seen the attendance record of the City Council and the Bridgeport Board Of Education by attendance hawk Maria Pereira now let’s see the record educational achievement of what the BBOE has accomplished by subject BBOE members by names.

  2. That’s the problem with Maria, attendance is more important that accomplishments. You can make every meeting, but don’t accomplish a DAMN thing and that my friends is how she measures Success!

  3. What about bathroom breaks. Surely there must be several when you consider how long these meetings last?
    And tardiness? Is five minutes late the same as a half an hour or an hour? Two hours??? Do they get a pass if they call ahead too say they are going too be late? Maybe those should only count half or that is up to the discretion of the chair?
    A bit subjective.
    How about roll call votes? Can we get reporting on that? Or better yet “important” roll call votes (Maria can decide)?
    What Maria cannot accept is that these are adults. Treat them as such. Let them know they are going to scored on this in advance and made public.
    If they are not going to attend the meetings, let the voters vote the out.
    Oh, that’s right when the turnout is only 20% or less, that says a lot more about the city elected officials. And as Ron pointed out maybe someone, besides Maria, can figure out important votes rather than mundane.

    1. Maria’s scorecard keeps the players honest and fosters good behavior.
      Winners do the right thing without being told. After only a few meetings, she’s outperformed you, Bob.

    2. CT state law mandates that each school district must hold a minimum of 180 school days. Bridgeport holds 182 days annually.

      Any student that misses 15 school days per year automatically fails all subjects. Those missing three consecutive days, because of the flu for instance, counts as one absence with a doctors’ note. Those students that have a medical condition are allowed special consideration.

      The nine-member school board sets the student absentee policy. The saying “do as you say and say as you do” is incredible applicable as it relates to something as basic as attendance.

      If the Board of Education expects our students to have at minimum a 92% attendance rate to pass each subject and overall, then I think it is certainly reasonable to expect the elected officials that govern those same 20,100 students to meet the same expectation.

      Attendance does not necessarily translate to effectiveness, however attendance is the first step to being a contributing and effective member of any elected or appointed board/commission. Once you show up you then have to be prepared and ready to do the work on behalf of those you were appointed or elected to serve.

  4. John Weldon as Chair of the Governance Committee, which is the equivalent of the Ordinance Committee, held all of two meetings in 2017/2018 & ZERO in 2018/2019. However, he somehow find the time to amend 60 pages of Board Polcies without holding a single Governance Committee Meeting where those policies should have been noticed, introduced, debated and voted on in committee.

    Every single policy that was referred to the Governance Committee died a Mitch McConnel death. In his two year chairing this critical committee not a SINGLE policy that directly impacted students, staff or parents was debated or voted on. Not one.

  5. I think Lennie forgot to post the overall rankings once all the regular, special and committee meetings were combined.

    As you can see, Chris Taylor has the worst attendance with a 58% attendance rate, followed by Dennis Bradley with a 60% attendance rate, and Jessica Martinez, the newly elected Chair has the third worst attendance record with a 62% attendance rate out of the 11 school board members that have served over the last two year period.

    Board of Education Attendance Recap
    December 2017- November 2019

    Total # Total #
    Reg., Special & Assigned Reg., Special & Assigned Attendance
    Committee Meetings Held Committee Meetings Attended Rate

    Chris Taylor 117 68 58%
    Dennis Bradley 81 49 60%
    Jessica Martinez 158 98 62%
    John Weldon 148 117 79%
    Joseph Lombard 40 33 83%
    Hernan Illingworth 140 117 84%
    Sybll Allen 116 98 84%
    Ben Walker 105 94 90%
    Lamar Kennedy 29 26 90%
    Maria Pereira 133 120 90%
    Joseph Sokolovic 143 138 97%

  6. Sorry! I formatted this with appropriate spacing, however it does not work when posting the results in the comments section.

    Lennie, can you please post the overall attendance recap ranking I provided to you?

    1. Bob,

      I spent 13 hours researching this information and putting it in an easy- to- understand format so the public can easily understand it.

      What have you done to improve the governance of Bridgeport except to whine on OIB?

  7. No committee should have more meetings than the Finance Committee due to the constant struggles the Board faces during the Budget process.

    Jessica Martinez has been the Finance Chair for the last two years. At minimum 20 meetings should have been held, however due to Chris Taylor’s, Dennis Bradley’s attendance in 2017/2018 a quorum could seldom be achieved, therefore only 5 meetings were held.

    In 2018/2019, it was due to her failure to schedule meetings that only 3 Finance Committee meetings were held. If they were scheduled they were often canceled because of attendance.

    She had a 30% attendance rate on Students & Families in 2018/2019.

    She only attended 78% of Personnel Committee Meetings and when she did attend she was late 38% of the time.

    John Weldon held 64 Special Meetings over the last two years and Jessica only attended 43 which is a 67% attendance rate, and of those she attended she was late 40% of the time.

    This is the individual that a bunch of political hacks voted to lead the very Board of Education that is responsible for governing the largest/second largest school district in CT.

    That’s how you absolutely know that children are not at the forefront of at least 7 of the 9 current school board members agendas.

  8. Chairperson Jessica Martinez, would you check into why the 8th grade class of Classical Studies Magnet School still don’t have a math teacher. They’ve just completed their first semester with less that what they deserve, a qualified math teacher! What they have is the Assistant to the ELA teacher which to my understanding is reading! These young children are getting ready to go to high school next year and at the very least they need a teacher that teaches math so that they are prepared for the next phase of their education.

    Is there any wonder that the children of Bridgeport are suffering academically when compared with children of other communities? Is there any wonder that the children of Bridgeport have such a high dropout because they can’t compete academically? Is there any wonder that the children of Bridgeport have such a hard time and far behind other students when they get to college? These children want a Math teacher and their educational future depends upon this. GIVE THE CHILDREN OF CLASSICAL STUDIES MAGNET SCHOOL A MATH TEACHER Chairman Jessica Martinez, that’s the very least that they deserve!

  9. That’s great, now we have seen the attendance record of the City Council and the Bridgeport Board Of Education by attendance hawk Maria Pereira now let’s see the record educational achievement of what the BBOE has accomplished by subject BBOE members by names.

  10. Personally, I offer appreciation to CC member Maria Pereira for the work that she accomplished poring over City meeting records to create attendance logs with the data that shows a picture. Now we can interpret the picture with stories of varying meaning, but the data records the history…and no one at this point has done backup oversight to review the original records and disagree with the picture presented to us.
    If the information is valuable, why doesn’t the City make this information available automatically with an attendance log on the City website, accessible along with minutes and agendas?? Wouldn’t that be a minimal step to pointing out improved governance, by the fact that you have to be present, on time, hopefully fully prepared for the public business to come if you are an elected representative??
    Maria P. has initiated this research project. Who will carry it on for all of the Boards and Commissions?? I have been told that former CC member DePara has been replaced in his assignment on Boards and Commission with Constance Vickers. Perhaps she is working on a similar review of B&C with attendance, minutes, financial records where appropriate and member expiry dates?? How many folks who volunteered for participation on B&C last spring have been interviewed and are in process to appointment? Time will tell.

    1. Maria’s scorecard is a tactic that supports her underlying strategy of accountability for CC members. It’s how she sets standards without a vote. It’s the power of personality and it sways votes every time she enters the room.

  11. For good attendance, you get 1-gold star, for 40% BOE accomplishments in that time frame, you get a “0”. So much for the my record’s better than yours posting.


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