With the September 10 Democratic primary for mayor just weeks away, incumbent Joe Ganim is playing Santa Claus in the summer with city schools. Money to expand bus routes, moolah for athletic uniforms, dough for literacy program.
Don’t ya love the power of incumbency?
Fire up the campaign mail pieces.
On Tuesday he issued this statement about restoring bus routes:
“We will continue to stand at the ready to assist Superintendent Testani and the Board. I, along with various city council members remain very concerned about the welfare and safety of our students. I know the superintendent, council members, and parents feel strongly that we resolve this before school begins.”
Board of Education member Maria Pereira has a different take on the education revenue stream during the campaign cycle outside of the Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR). Monday night Pereira attended a school board meeting and filed this account.
Last night Marlene Siegel (finance director) & Mike Testani ( school chief) admitted the following:
Mayor Ganim has spent $100,000 on purchasing high school athletic uniforms without the Board’s knowledge and approval and the money was NOT transferred to the Board of Education to ensure the $100,000 was NOT locked into the MBR.
Mayor Ganim also spent $100,000 on new literacy/curriculum without the Board’s knowledge and approval. The money was NOT transferred to the Board of Education to ensure the $100,000 was NOT locked into the MBR.
The Mayor has agreed to pay the $253,000 annual facilities lease for 2019/2020 located on CT Avenue. He does NOT want to transfer the $253,000 to the Board of Education to ensure the $253,000 is NOT locked into the MBR.
The Mayor announced via a Facebook video that he was signing a “transfer” of $1.2 million dollars to pay for the cost of reestablishing all the former bus routes. Marlene Siegel admitted the “transfer” was NOT to the Board of Education, but instead to a separate city account thereby ensuring the $1.2 million would NOT be locked into the MBR.
Mr. Testani admitted that all of these expenditures would ONLY be for this school year just 23 days before the Democratic Primary and not $1 of these payments would be locked into the MBR.
WE Transport just received a three year contract. I specifically asked if the $200,000 had been re-negotiated into their contract for the length of the three year contract. The $200,000 is ONLY for this year.
Joseph Sokolovic made an amendment to Jessica Martinez’ motion to approve the “smoke & mirrors” “balanced budget” on the condition the entire $1,653,000 be transferred to the Board of Education and locked into the MBR which would include the $200,000 already spent be moved to the BOE via a journal entry. This means the City would still have to appropriate $1,453,000 to the BOE to lock it into the MBR. The vote was 7 to 1 with Chris Taylor absent and John Weldon voting no.
School starts on August 29th and I stressed that it is impossible to re-do every single bus route for every BPS, Charter, Technical School students, AND adequately notify parents of their child’s bus stop location and time to be at their bus stop in time for August 29th.
In addition, all FCW students residing in Bridgeport will have to abide by the two mile BOE Policy.
Marlene Seigel admitted NO letters were being mailed to parents homes. They were going to use PowerSchool phone numbers and email addresses and are issuing phone blasts to parents to call their child’s schools or go to a portal. Schools CANNOT handle influxes of calls as many schools have one to two secretaries.
I assure this is going to create absolute chaos and mayhem. The most tenured employee with 17 years in the Transportation Office that is the only one with in-depth knowledge of the Transfinder Routing Technology submitted her retirement papers over these outrageous expectations and her last day is Friday.