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Would An Employee Of Macy’s Be Allowed To Serve On The Board Of Lord & Taylor?

January 30th, 2015 · 17 Comments · Education, News and Events

In a commentary that first appeared in the Connecticut Post, the leader of the District Parent Advisory Council Tammy Boyle shares a pointed perspective about conflicts impacting the parent group.

As president of the District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) of the Bridgeport Public Schools, I felt compelled to respond to the letter entitled “Bridgeport Parents Pushed Out” submitted by Cecile Lobo.

The Parent Advisory Council has just entered its 46th year of existence and neither the superintendent nor the Bridgeport Board of Education has ever interfered with the PAC. Now that we once again have a superintendent and Board of Education controlled by Mayor Finch and led by “let’s make a deal” Dave Hennessey, the political maneuvering has reared its ugly head once again.

In 2010, Mayor Finch created an organization called Bridgeport Partnership for Student Success, Inc. whose vice-president was Lee Bollert, an appointee of Mayor Finch. The address of the organization was listed as “999 Broad Street” or in other words, City Hall. Mayor Finch orchestrated the illegal takeover of our BOE in July 2011, and this group was dismantled shortly thereafter.

However, it was simply converted to a new organization called Excel Bridgeport. According to the Connecticut Secretary of State’s website, the conspirator-in-chief of the illegal takeover, Meghan Lowney, is listed as the president and Nathan Snow, who was also involved in the illegal takeover, is listed as vice-president.

Snow now serves as president and Lowney as a member of the Excel Bridgeport Board of Directors. Excel Bridgeport portrays itself as a pro-parent organization when they are just a shill for Mayor Finch and charter schools.

After the state Supreme Court ruled Mayor Finch’s coup was illegal, in 2012, Excel Bridgeport spent in excess of $100,000 to support Mayor Finch’s failed effort to disenfranchise thousands of Bridgeport public school parents from exercising their democratic right to elect those that make life altering decisions about their children. So much for Excel Bridgeport being a “pro-parent” organization.

In 2013, the undeterred Excel Bridgeport moved onto the District Parent Advisory Council. During our bi-annual election of executive board members, Excel Bridgeport had paid staff attend the elections and hand out campaign literature for charter school parents and Excel Bridgeport parents in an attempt to orchestrate a coup of the parent association that had existed harmoniously for 44 years.

They worked to turn out a large amount of charter school parents so they could help elect their slate to the DPAC executive board. In addition, Mayor Finch literally stood in front of the school encouraging parents to vote for Excel Bridgeport candidates over true Bridgeport Public School (BPS) parents that had spent years volunteering in our schools. What had always been a respectful and successful event became a contentious and negative free for all.

It was discovered just days later that our DPAC president that was also working with Excel Bridgeport’s Parent Policy Committee, had colluded with Excel Bridgeport to allow a charter school parent and parents closely aligned with Excel Bridgeport to run for office although the vast majority of them did not meet the qualifications to do so. After consulting an attorney, the entire election was discarded and new elections were held. In the end, every Excel Bridgeport parent was defeated.

In Summer 2013, the DPAC by-laws committee worked tirelessly to update our by-laws to ensure the turmoil created by Mayor Finch’s Excel Bridgeport could not occur again. A conflict of interest clause was created and presented to the leadership of each school. After several months of review the presidents/vice-presidents overwhelmingly passed the amended by-laws with just one no vote.

Cecile Lobo is closely aligned with Excel Bridgeport and was inadvertently allowed to fill a vacancy on a school executive board in violation of our by-laws. I recently sent a letter that clearly stated “you are more than welcome to participate in any Multi-Cultural School events; however you cannot serve on the executive board … You may volunteer and participate in any events planned and organized by the PAC and we strongly encourage you to do so.” The irresponsible rhetoric of Cecile Lobo was not a surprise and is typical of those associated with pro-charter school organizations.

One must ask would an employee of Macy’s ever be allowed to serve on the board of directors of Lord & Taylor?

The answer is a resounding “no.” However the Macy’s employee could continue to shop at Lord & Taylor, attend in-store events and redeem their coupons, but they still wouldn’t be allowed to serve on their board of directors. The reason is it is a clear conflict of interest.

When you have an organization with over 50 executive board members and approximately 30,000 members at large, dissension and internal strife are to be expected. The expectation that 30,000 BPS parents will be in perfect harmony at all times is unrealistic. The Board of Education only has nine members and they rarely agree unanimously on any one topic. It is often referred to as democracy.

Fran Rabinowitz and Mayor Finch’s Board of Education have made a decision to use the public schools’ limited financial resources to have their high powered attorney “investigate” thousands of Bridgeport public school parents.

All this effort expended in order to protect approximately 100 parents associated with these millionaire and billionaire funded organizations instead of standing up for the thousands and thousands of parents that truly believe in the Bridgeport Public Schools.

The constant “bullying” and “harassment” by those associated with pro-charter school organizations like Excel Bridgeport, ConnCAN, Families for Excellent Schools, Northeast Charter Schools, etc. will not be tolerated. If Mayor Finch’s band of merry men/women really want to address the “bullies” within the BPS, I would strongly recommend Fran Rabinowitz, Dave Hennessey, Joe Larcheveque, Hernan Illingworth, Kenneth Moales Jr.,  Andre Baker, Dr. Jacqueline Kelleher and Kadisha Coates find the closest mirror.

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17 Comments so far ↓

  • Jeff Kohut

    To comment in a similar vein about a parallel Bridgeport situation, we also have an elected Stamford official serving as Bridgeport’s director of economic development.

    Is it any wonder why we get Bass Pro (promises) and they Charter Communications? And is it any wonder why our schools are underfunded and those north and west of Bridgeport in Fairfield County aren’t?

    Detritus flows downhill–from Hartford to Bridgeport (after being pumped up there from Stamford/Greenwich). (From whence did the Excel Bridgeport funding originate?)

  • Maria Pereira

    Jeff, the most significant funder of Excel Bridgeport is Greenwich billionaire Steve Mandel. He is one of the seven wealthiest residents in CT and also serves on the BOD of Teach for America. Nate Snow is the director of TFA in CT and serves as an officer of Excel Bridgeport and serves as the President on their BOD. Meghan Lowney who was involved in the illegal takeover is one of the officers of Excel Bridgeport and serves on the BOD of Excel Bridgeport, and is also the director of the ZOOM Foundation which is Steve Mandel’s organization too. In other words she is his employee.

  • Maria Pereira

    I have received credible information Excel Bridgeport is in turmoil. Jessica Martinez and Jorge Cabrera were let go this week. They are having very serious financial issues because their funders feel they have been ineffective and have not delivered on their commitments. As many on this blog already know, Ex$ell Bridgeport is not looked upon favorably by many.

    • Jmar2230

      Maria, keep MY name out of your mouth, especially when continuing to spread your lies and assume you know what you’re talking about. FYI: When having a staff member like me, who leads with integrity and is not only a natural-born leader but also a problem solver, what is there not to like? You speak for maybe a handful of people, you obviously must be working with a different crowd than I. Great work was and is created by me and the parents I work alongside of, for the betterment of every parent, child and resident of this City. Also, let me remind you I was born and raised in Bpt, a member and active leader in the same church since 1991, product of several schools in the City, graduate of Central Magnet High School, former program coordinator-current committee member-current coach for the Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders for the last seven years, a Bridgeport taxpayer, Bridgeport’s FIRST in history, BB the Bluefish (the Bluefish mascot) oh and I almost forgot–a Bridgeport parent of a child I have custody of and who lives a very fulfilled-blessed life! This list can go on and on but I don’t have to give you my volunteer/career resume. I am simply stating facts about me to the readers because who I am is important to me, the people I love and the City I serve!!! You know nothing about me, my work and the residents of this City!

  • Maria Pereira

    My absolute favorite line in this letter is the reference “let’s make a deal Dave Hennessey.” So true, so true.

  • BOE SPY

    Bridgeport PUBLIC schools are, as the title suggests, public. They receive local, state and federal tax moneys. Anyone who pays those taxes has the obligation and right to participate in the system. The difference between Macy’s and the PAC is exactly the same as the difference between a private and a public organization. The PAC is illegally denying BPT citizens their constitutional right to participate in our democratic system. They are trying to turn our schools into their personal private system much like Macy’s is a private company. This is nothing more than an attempt at an illegal takeover of our schools by a pack of PAC members. Participation in this publicly funded group is guaranteed regardless of race, creed, color, religion or political affiliation. In the same way a communist could be our president, a socialist could be our mayor, a charter school proponent could be president of our PAC.
    I have received credible information that BPS is in turmoil. They are having very serious financial issues to the tune of 5, no 7, no 12 million dollars and their funders feel they have been ineffective and have not delivered on their commitments. As many on this blog already know, BBOE is not looked upon favorably by many.

  • Maria Pereira

    There isn’t a single BPS parent who is being excluded from the PAC, however you cannot serve on the board if you are an employee of the BBOE, if you are a public official in the city of Bridgeport and if you serve on the board or committee of another education/education advocacy organization. In addition, you cannot be an employee or receive a stipend of any other education/education advocacy organization. The PAC is funded by a federal grant, not by the state or the BBOE operating budget. A charter school proponent should serve as the president of a charter school parent council, not the PAC of the BPS. And we are prepared to fight this to the very end.

  • Maria Pereira

    As most people on this blog already know, you are a very poor spy. Every BPS parent/legal guardian is allowed to cast a vote in the election of every DPAC officer. I would strongly recommend you stop writing about topics you have absolutely no knowledge of.

    • BOE SPY

      So, you would agree no one has the right to exclude any BPS parent/legal guardian from holding a position in DPAC and no one who has been elected by every BPS parent/legal guardian can be removed from office except by every BPS parent/legal guardian.

      A new twist on the First Amendment–if you can’t beat them, silence them. Come see the violence inherent in the system. Help help, I’m being oppressed. Do you see her oppressing me?

  • Jeff Kohut

    Don’t worry, BOE SPY–Steve Mandel will buy you some justice and democracy for your support.

    • BOE SPY

      Yeah–I do not know Steve Mandel. You just keep chasing the Illuminati that is working so hard to keep BPT poor. I’m sure if you find the Templars and join the Masons you will crack that nut. I am sure what every growing city wants is a poor, untrained, illiterate work force to feed on. What wealthy cities do New Haven and Hartford feed? The part I cannot understand is, since BPT has those things why didn’t the companies move to BPT? They could have come to Steele Point. It couldn’t be corruption chased them all off. Bridgeport is still responsible for their own elected officials and they elect the same group again and again without fail.

  • BOE SPY

    My absolute favorite line in this letter is the reference, “The constant ‘bullying” and “harassment” by those associated with pro-charter school organizations.” Like videotaping charter school canvassers or having your jackbooted security officials remove charter school protesters? Freedom of speech, anyone?

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