As Rabinowitz Exits, Dennis Menaced Politically In 2016

Ganim, Larcheveque
Mayor Joe Ganim, who chaired organizational meeting of school board, congratulates Joe Larcheveque, standing right.

Outgoing acting school chief Fran Rabinowitz will be honored Monday night at the City Council meeting in recognition of her “meritorious services and accomplishments during her tenure in the City.” Rabinowitz, a career educator, announced her resignation effective at the end of the year because, she says, Board of Education member Maria Pereira had a “negative crusade to undermine and discredit much of what we have built for children in this school district.” Aresta Johnson was appointed by the school board to replace Rabinowitz in an acting capacity as the search continues for a permanent chief.

Aresta Johnson
Aresta Johnson will lead school district as interim super. CT Post photo by Ned Gerard.

Last week the school board unanimously chose Republican Joe Larcheveque to serve as chair, the fourth leader in as many years for the district. Democrat Dennis Bradley’s one year at the helm was marked by a maelstrom including his call to boycott regular meetings in a failed move to force Pereira’s resignation. Chaos reigned. Bradley was boxed out for another year as chair when a bloc of four votes, Pereira, Howard Gardner, Ben Walker and Sauda Baraka, nominated a surprised Larcheveque. Can he bring stability in the cause of moving along school business?

Politically, strategically and governmentally, Bradley took his lumps in 2016, losing a Democratic primary to incumbent State Senator Ed Gomes, then calling for a dubious boycott of school board meetings. Bradley drew the wrath of district parents who viewed the move as silencing their voices. Those voices aired out their feelings last week during the public speaking portion of the school board meeting prior to the organizational vote of officers. Bradley, young and ambitious, could still have a future in city politics.

2017 is an election year for six school board seats, as well as all 20 seats on the City Council. Political positioning is underway on both fronts. Bradley, Pereira and Walker were elected to four-year terms in 2015.

Rabinowitz’s resignation and Bradley’s boycott were seen as pleas for help from the Connecticut Board of Education that approved a state takeover of schools in the summer of 2011 that was eventually ruled illegal by the Connecticut Supreme Court. State officials decided hands off.

City Council agenda here.



  1. Parents have a long memory when it comes to someone hurting their children. Bradley’s actions hurt Bridgeport’s 21,000 students. Especially Kindergarteners. Some free advice for Bradley. Give it up. You will not get the votes needed to be elected to any office. Not even dog catcher.

  2. It has been a very bad year for Dennis Bradley. First, getting his ass kicked by losing a Democratic primary to incumbent State Senator Ed Gomes and then a bigger embarrassment with his loss to Republican Joe Larcheveque to serve as the BOE chair. Bradley is a rookie in Bridgeport politics and whoever his advisers and handlers are, they are steering him in the wrong direction. Bradley as the new kid on the block is in a hole and he keeps on digging the hole deeper.

    1. Ron, he received some good advice and guidance, but he didn’t like who was giving it to him. He overestimated Testa and Ganim because they delivered him a year ago. I surmise after both realized Bradley was a loose cannon, they left him to twist in the wind, and that he did. Fran R. teamed up with Bradley, encouraged the boycott, and tied the hands of the members of the BOE who showed up anyway. They both got what they deserved because they both underestimated other forces. (No names mentioned.) As for the Council, what a bunch of hypocrites, not one of them fought to give the BOE more money, and not one of them used the microphones in front of them to decry the boycott. Let’s see if Bradley or Rabinowitz will be of help to them next year when they’re all facing challenges.

      1. Lisa, you are so right when you said, “As for the Council, what a bunch of hypocrites, not one of them fought to give the BOE more money, and not one of them used the microphones in front of them to decry the boycott.” I had hope for two black council members who I thought would stand up and speak out but sadly I was wrong. Lisa, there are still people out there telling Bradley he’s the new savior as he keeps falling down and making a fool of himself.

      2. Lisa, Rabinowitz was 100% involved in the boycott.

        It is pretty humiliating when there was a strategy to place Dennis into nomination as Chair by Fonseca, but then when Mayor Ganim asks for a second there is nothing but silence.

        Larcheveque, Weldon and Negron could have easily seconded the nomination as a courtesy, but they chose not to.

        Dennis was publicly humiliated. He even commented “no second???”

        When Joe accepted the nomination and then was elected; the room burst into cheers and applause. Yes, there were those pleased with Joe taking the helm, but the real joy was Bradley was ousted.

  3. Let’s just get this straight, this Bradley boycott falls directly at the feet of Joe Ganim!
    Any Mayor worth his salt would have done everything in his power to stop a BBoE boycott!
    Ganim was mute, instead Ganim chose politics over our 21,000 kids and their parents so he can control this feeble BBoE.
    Bradley was instructed not to hold regular BBoE meeting, this avoided BBoE members from electing their own members by city charter and BBoE bylaws.
    This gave Ganim the chance to usurp the powers of the remaining members from some obscure state law, while Bradley dragged his feet an played the part of the Judas Goat, this gave Ganim and Testa time to take control of the school board with new appointed sheep (members).
    Now why would Mario Testa care about the schools and the BBoE???
    Why is Jim Holloway still a city employee/CC member/Chairman of the School Building committee?
    How come Ganim chose not to sack Holloway just like he did McCarthy?
    The kind of money that comes from contractors who put up these $chools like the new Harding High $chool ($85 million project), money that goes into the DTC and the pockets of politicians.

    So when Joe Ganim, Mario Testa, Danny Roach come calling, will the new appointed sheep members of the BBoE answer the call? Time will tell (JML).

  4. As a sign of unity Sauda, Ben, Howard and myself attended the City Council meeting. Joe and John attended. I was told Annette was at school. Fonseca was not there, however he works odd hours. Dennis Bradley was Chair during Fran Rabinowitz’ last year and he did not attend.

    Mayor Ganim read a proclamation announcing December 19th as Fran Rabinowitz Day. I immediately put it into my 2017 calendar. 🙂


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