Judge Expels School Chief From Job, But Vallas Still In Charge, For Now–Finch: I Want To Keep Vallas Here Fighting For Our Kids

Pattis, Lopez
Attorney Norm Pattis and retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez brought legal action against Vallas. CT Post photo.

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis Wednesday afternoon ordered Paul Vallas off the job as superintendent of schools while her decision removing him for lack of legal certification is under appeal. Judge Bellis’ original decision, however, and her decision to terminate Vallas will now be reviewed by an appellate court, according to Deputy City Attorney Art Laske. The city filed a direct appeal Wednesday to the Supreme Court and if granted it will hear the appeal. As a result Vallas remains on the job. If the Supremes do not take the case the appellate court will hear it. Either way the city’s legal response means Vallas will remain on the job pending this review, according to Laske. It’s unclear how long that will take but at least 10 days. Confused? So is the short-term future of the school district. The city has hired lawyer Steven Ecker, an appellate specialist, to represent Vallas.

Lawyers representing retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez who brought the case challenging Vallas’ qualifications to serve urged Bellis to remove Vallas from the job immediately. City lawyers argued for Vallas to remain on the job pending appeal.

Barbara Bellis
Judge Barbara Bellis expels Vallas from school job. CT Post photo.

Bellis had ruled previously Vallas did not complete a school leadership program required by state law. Prior to Bridgeport, Vallas served as chief of school systems in Philadelphia, Chicago and New Orleans.

Mayor Bill Finch, in support of Vallas, issued this statement:

“We filled huge education budget deficits, avoided layoffs, increased funding, built new schools, gave every high school student a laptop computer, and all schoolchildren new textbooks for the very first time all because of Paul Vallas, the five board of education members who support him and my administration. What could this judge, whose children do not attend Bridgeport schools, be possibly thinking? I’m confident an impartial, higher court will give Bridgeport kids some of the justice they have long deserved. I want to keep Paul Vallas here fighting for our kids.”

Gary Peluchette, president of the Bridgeport Education Association, told the Connecticut Post that the Board of Education should call on Sandra Kase, chief administrative officer for the district, to replace Vallas who hired the former New York City school administrator.

“We hope that the BOE calls upon Sandra Kase to lead the district at this time, as she is qualified to do so, and that her appointment would be in the best interest of the students and staff during this time of transition,” said Peluchette.

Vallas’ replacement will not be acted upon, however, until (if and when) he’s off the job.

 Statement from Connecticut Working Families Party:

We’re glad to see that Paul Vallas won’t continue to act as superintendent while he appeals the court ruling that he isn’t legally qualified to lead a school district in Connecticut. Paul Vallas has taken Bridgeport in the wrong direction: cutting special education and creative programs, raising administrative costs while understaffing the schools, and imposing more rounds of standardized tests. It is time for the city to start the process of finding a superintendent who will work with teachers, parents, and students to improve Bridgeport’s schools. And it is time Bridgeport’s politicians listened to the outpouring of grassroots activity from Bridgeport residents who signed petitions and wrote letters to the editor urging the city to stop wasting taxpayer money on legal appeals to keep Vallas in a job he’s unqualified for. The sooner Bridgeport puts the failures of Paul Vallas behind it and starts spending taxpayer money on education instead of continued legal action, the better.

Statement from Excel Bridgeport:

Earlier this afternoon, Judge Bellis ruled that Superintendent Vallas must step down immediately. The city’s attorneys will appeal this ruling. The superintendent’s future in Bridgeport remains unclear.

We have learned some important lessons about what makes a great district leader from Superintendent Vallas. We know that we need a leader who will set a vision for excellence, who will work to develop talented educators, who will focus first and foremost on student achievement, and who is committed to engaging parents and community members. As a community, we must work to ensure that all of our district leaders, present and future, share those qualities.



  1. Let’s hear it for Judge Bellis and Carmen Lopez. The law is the law. Period. Apart from all of the success hyperbole, Vallas, according to state law, is unqualified to serve. Get out. Move on. In the interim, drop the appeal that will cost time and money Bridgeport residents can’t afford and commence an immediate national search for someone who is qualified, respectful of his/her constituents and actually focused on the children of Bridgeport.

    1. The law is not ‘The Law.’ The law is just a collection of opinions formed from cultural beliefs This opinion is that of retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez, family friend Judge Barbara Bellis and the WFP (i.e. the teachers union). This group is of the opinion a mass conspiracy took place involving the mayor, governor, the Commissioner of Education, University of Connecticut, the BOE and a group of Greenwich executives to make Paul Vallas the superintendent of BPT schools.
      Paul Vallis and his team are simply asking for another opinion.

      1. BULL! The law was quite clear on this. This is not just some custom, but an actual written statute. This is more nonsense from the Finch camp. Paul Vallis is trying to get around the law which was fairly explicit about certification. This is just more of Finch.

      2. You appear desperate, Josh? Mayor minion? Prove the family friendship. Tried to get that scoop going in the CT Post, eh? Didn’t work out too well, so your only option was to post lies here, eh?

        Pretty desperate and pathetic. Vallas has another option … pack up and go “reform” elsewhere. Either way, he is overwhelmingly not wanted here.

        It is only a conspiracy if it is secret. It’s all out there for all to see. Special law written just for him. 13-month leadership PROGRAM, which he blew off and now he wants special treatment after the creation of a special program.

        At best he will get a new reformy title so he can continue to destroy public education, his true specialty.

        1. Who is Josh? Let’s look at our options. Vallas is going to ‘destroy’ education. That would imply you think it is going well now. What, exactly, would someone have to do to ‘destroy’ education in BPT? How much worse could it get? You seem very sure there is someone who can do a better job than Vallas. You can’t tell us who that is but you are sure s/he is out there. I know there are lots of people who can do a worse job. We have had them. All fully certified with years of experience as educators. So far, they have done such a poor job, I for one am willing to try something, anything, new. Let us say Vallas gets his three years and things stay the same or get worse. I am sure someone will come around and put things back like they are now. If Vallas does well then the kids win. After all, it is their future.
          What part of education are you REALLY afraid he will ruin? What the kids learn (too many learn close to nothing now) or the pay scale?
          Honestly, I do not think you would like Vallas if he could eat coal and poop diamonds, but that is your right. Just as it is his right to ask for another opinion in his court case. That opinion may confirm the original opinion. One more feather in your cap, Vallas gets on his way and we turn up the gears at the dropout factories. Time will tell.

  2. Mr. Vallas was fired by the Court, this now makes his contract with the City of Bridgeport (BOE) Null and Void. We owe Mr. Vallas nothing from that contract as of this date, 7/10/2013. Now let Tom Mulligan pay for the appeal.

  3. “The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”–Bertrand Russell, Mortals and Others 1: American Essays 1931-35

    “He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.”–George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara

  4. Now when will Moales be removed? What is amazing is Finch and his allies on the Board of Ed are continuing to try to fight this thing. They have lost EVERY single court fight. Vallas should not have been Superintendent and I would bet anything he served illegally at most if not all of the other school systems he wreaked havoc on.

  5. I heard in court today Vallas acknowledged the city of Bridgeport is paying for his personal representation in the appeal. That is on top of the city paying its own lawyers and other outside counsel. The city is gambling a lot of its money on this appeal. HEY, WAIT A MINUTE. THEY’RE GAMBLING A LOT OF OUR MONEY ON THIS APPEAL.

    1. The city should not be paying for this. Especially when Vallas misrepresented his credentials. He should have been gone a long time ago. I hope the judge is having state marshals enforce her order by making sure Vallas vacates his FORMER office.

  6. *** Win or lose, one group or another, in the end it’s the kids and city taxpayers who get the short end of the pointing stick once again in the city’s school systems never-ending search for “positive change,” no? *** LORD HELP US! ***

  7. Found on CT Post, no matter how long they drag this out.

    The judge is certified to do her job and the bottom line is:
    They wrote a law just for Vallas
    It was part of Malloy’s bill
    It passed and Malloy signed it
    It took effect July 1, 2012
    He needed simply to take a 13-month school leadership program
    He didn’t even try until February of 2013
    He took an independent study
    He didn’t even register as a student
    He broke the law
    Pryor broke the law
    He lost
    The judge ruled he cannot continue
    We are the constitution state
    No one is above the law
    Including all friends of Stefan, Dannel and Arne
    The “elite” are not free to break the law
    Taxpayers, citizens, parents are drawing the line
    No more

  8. From the CT Post:
    “We filled huge education budget deficits, avoided layoffs, increased funding, built new schools, gave every high school student a laptop computer, and all schoolchildren new textbooks for the very first time all because of Paul Vallas, the five board of education members who support him and my administration,” Finch said. “What could this judge, whose children do not attend Bridgeport schools, be possibly thinking? I’m confident an impartial, higher court will give Bridgeport kids some of the justice they have long deserved. I want to keep Paul Vallas here fighting for our kids.”

    I am really tired of Finch. The balls of him to question the impartiality of a judge. How impartial is his administration going to be in the driveway investigation?

    She doesn’t send her kids to Bridgeport Public schools? What does that have to do with it, and if she did would that not be a possible conflict of interest for the judge?

    How many school board members do not send their kids to public school, Mr. Mayor? He does not send his kids to a school in his district, why??? Someone please hold his feet to the fire on these statements!

    Enough of this clown!

  9. The City can never accept defeat and cut their losses. Now they will spend more taxpayer dollars on a lost cause. Mo’ money! Mo’ money! Mo’ Money!

  10. Comment from a teacher posted on Ed. Blog … the teachers know the reality of what actually is happening and it rarely matches the stories told in court or to the press:
    Mayor Bill Finch, in support of Vallas, issued this statement:

    “We filled huge education budget deficits, avoided layoffs, increased funding, built new schools, gave every high school student a laptop computer, and all schoolchildren new textbooks for the very first time all because of Paul Vallas, the five board of education members who support him and my administration. What could this judge, whose children do not attend Bridgeport schools, be possibly thinking? I’m confident an impartial, higher court will give Bridgeport kids some of the justice they have long deserved. I want to keep Paul Vallas here fighting for our kids.”

    “built new schools, gave every high school student a laptop computer, and all schoolchildren new textbooks”

    Pure unadulterated LIES!!! The books were useless and spent the whole year in shelves collecting dust. The laptops, we found in late May after having spent the whole year locked up in these industrial rolling carts, never once taken out to be used by the students, particularly those who had them prescribed in their IEP’s, in a room we didn’t even know existed, along with all the printers that were removed from each classroom at the beginning of the year. In the meantime one computer classroom served as the communal printer to be utilized by 15 classrooms in one floor as to save for ink cartridges, very counterproductive, if I may add.

    Oh and in regards to the schools, those were already a work in progress when Vallas came in, as anyone who is well informed in school construction in this city, it takes about ten years to even decide the final blueprints.

  11. Wait, what? The state BOE, the governing body of CT schools, testified Vallas met their requirements. Then a separate part of the government said no he did not, and then did not wait for the State courts to verify and support her decision? I know there are groups who do not like that Vallas was state appointed. The question I really have is, who in the world who is knowledgeable, “certified,” competent and has ability will want to step into this multi-year, multi-lawsuit city and take this position? With the now national attention and God Forbid they see the character assault on these postings, I cannot imagine anyone would welcome this position. This city is its own worst enemy.

    1. Following a law written just for one person is factual. He chose not to enroll in a thirteen-month leadership program to become certified in CT. Imagine the teacher bashing that would occur if a teacher let their certification lapse and then the union was backing the teacher: he or she was too busy and didn’t have the time. This person has a record of success and has been teaching for years. The same people who are defending Vallas would be berating and scolding the teacher.

      The state BOE rubber stamps anything. They disregarded the law written just for him. So did he. So did Pryor. So did Malloy. It is not character assassination to point to the results in Chicago, NOLA and Philly. Research has been linked everywhere. All three are in crisis or being restructured … they are being reformed again. There is no stellar record of success even though it gets repeated ad nauseum just because Paul says so. They have no sustainability. True reform is community reform: housing, jobs, health care, and many entities working together. It takes many years to make lasting change and that is not his style nor his methods.

      There will be two books coming out about the reform charade, one this fall. Those interested in reading the facts and not the spin may want to pick up a copy:

      Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools

    2. Thank you for your comments, Jennifer. The entire question of credentialing is nothing more than a smoke screen. Vallas is making changes that are taking our system out of the dark ages. As a Special Education teacher, I had more sheer work to do than any other year in my 20 years of teaching. I had new curriculum to learn as well as new programs. I did it willingly knowing it was for the betterment of my students. At this juncture, I am unwilling to allow detractors of questionable motivation get in the way of that progress.

      1. Why don’t you identify yourself? These are well-known Excel talking points … and I keep seeing new handles of people praising Vallas every time he is in legal trouble.

        1. BRG,
          Good question you asked. Why don’t you tell everyone your name is D*** M**** and post under that name?
          MamaVaz indicates she (?) is engaged in Special Education, for 20 years here in Bridgeport. That’s more background than you provide. Will she care she is being challenged by a former Bridgeport resident, currently living in Arizona, maybe, who provides more info about bars he has passed one million times than anything constructive about the school system?
          I am not an Excel supporter, whatever that means in this context. As a matter of fact they were the opposition last year when I, and many others, for a variety of reasons, opposed the Charter Yes vote.
          Is it likely a good number of Bridgeport teachers, whether they reside in the City or not, understood deeply the dysfunctions they have lived with for years despite the leadership by those with appropriate certificates? The accused ‘part-time superintendent’ was on deck this past year early at schools to meet with principals, teachers and parents, and he was late at meetings in Bridgeport, not in Haiti or other locations. And he was open to parents and the community at large when they asked questions. Most of the times the questions provided satisfactory answers. And people like me who were looking for transparency of financial info provided publicly and timely were impressed by the steady delivery of operating budget, variance details, regular reporting of employee numbers and grants info. Much better “show and tell” than the BOE or public has been used to. And an example of what the City side should have been doing for the past 20 years since the Financial Review Board.
          Share your agendas and your identity, folks. Readers can identify an agenda when they see more than 25 posts on this stream by just one person. The reforming war in Bridgeport goes on. Time will tell.

          1. John, maybe you were having one of your bad days when you don’t remember where you are but Lennie actually posted my name in this column and where I live … though you and Dave Walker who has insulted me numerous times also did. Interesting that he does that … since I lived in BR for 3 decades and he has been there 3 years. In fact JML, I beat you by a few years. And it seems a lot of your buddies from Harborview know who I am … was it you or Phil? Amazing that I am the topic of conversation at a business I refused to patronize.

            And who is MamaVaz. John, I can say I am a special ed teacher on a blog under a handle too. If I did under this one everyone would rightly know I was full of it … just like you are. My postings stand for themselves.

            MamaVaz has posted nothing but Excel talking points which I am quite familiar with by now having spent a lot of time on the Special Ed election and working against the Charter Revision.

            People can provide financial info and it doesn’t mean it is correct, accurate or even an honest reporting.

            Take your meds, John.

          2. BRG,
            Please share with us your long list of accomplishments during your 30-plus years in Bridgegport. Take all the space you need. The truth is that it’s more important what you accomplish during your time in a position or place than how long you were there. Things clearly got worse in the City during your 30-plus years. Evidently so much so you decided to move to Tucson, AZ! Why don’t you try to make Tucson better because you didn’t do so while you were in Bridgeport.

          3. Dave Walker, I’m sure BlackRockGuy will address your question but why does anyone have to tell you what they have done in Bridgeport when you have only been here three years? I think you would get more respect if you show us all what you have done in three years in Bridgeport.

          4. Only way I can post on this thread at the moment is to respond under my last post.
            TO BRG: Your name as a Black Rock resident meant nothing to me in a neighborhood where I have worked on activities and for groups for the last dozen years. Sorry for that. But when your only credentials are a critical tongue on most things, and we’re not talking about constructive “we’ll all be better off tomorrow with this ‘win-win’ approach” attitude. We’re talking about personal stylistic comments such as the Harborview coffee group … for instance, if you don’t patronize a place, how do you know what is going on there? Maybe from what others say? Perhaps they have med issues? And what does “beating” someone by residing in a neighborhood mean if engagement or participation has been slight?
            And if Lennie has posted your name and location, why not come out of the closet daily for those who don’t care to go to the archives?
            As for Ron Mackey, as a regular poster why are you so shy in telling who you are, what you did for a living, what makes you famous or important, etc.? Why is this like pulling teeth? I know you don’t have to, but when a man walks up to you with his hands behind his back and even if he has a smile on his face, don’t you want to know what is in the background?
            Opinions today are OK from all. But opinions from those who are active today in a variety of ways hold more weight in my mind than those doing nothing. Putting your real name out there is part of it, though I understand current City employees are nervous and the stories they tell provide good reason. But if you are pleased or proud of your community service, why not share it all? Time will tell.

          5. Ron,
            I will mention just three things. I evaluated the city’s financial condition and made numerous recommendations to help restore fiscal sanity to the Mayor and City Council. Unfortunately, it takes competent and non-conflicted leadership to implement them and we don’t have that in our current Mayor or Council President. I worked with others to get HB 5724 further this year than ever in the state legislature, and we’ll be back next year. And I am one of the co-founders of CW4BB. It has made some difference and will much a much bigger one over time. Last thing, it’s not about me, it’s about the City and its citizens. I have plenty to do at the federal and state level. I’m trying to help and don’t ever plan to run for municipal office. I will, however, help other competent and non-conflicted people do so.

          6. Dave Walker, let me try to put this out in a positive way. I think it is nice the items you mention you have been trying to do but remember none of them have done anything but don’t stop trying. When you challenge others to show you what they have done that doesn’t help people to want to assist you.

            I asked you to please take the time to read on OIB: Farmers Markets In The City and the comments made by Donald Day // Jul 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm, your reply was “Mayor Finch is more about form than substance and this situation is no exception. At the same time, my wife Mary and I will check out the farmers markets.” That’s nice but Mr. Day brought up the some really important issues like, “I remember when if you wanted fresh vegetables and meats you could go to Mohican Market, or wanted fresh baked goods you could to Ann’s Newfield Bakery or had a prescription to fill you could go to Ricco Pharmacy. Now the good people of the East End have absolutely nothing or no one for these services.”

            “You can still walk two blocks in any direction and buy a bottle of liquor, that hasn’t changed. Why is it easier to buy liquor on the East End than quality foods?” Those were the concerns from Mr. Day but you never spoke to those issues, well how do you think the people of the East End feel about those lacks of service? Why should people in that district want to support you when you and your group know nothing about them?

  12. No matter what you think of Paul Vallas, the City of Bridgeport should not be paying for any of the costs of this appeal. Vallas is not an officer of the City of Bridgeport. He is employed by the BOE and it’s their responsibility to decide what to do and to pay for it. I can see a class action suit coming to recover any costs if the City of Bridgeport pays for this appeal. The current Administration is both out of touch and out of control. Its days are numbered.

    1. David,
      The case was brought, and decided, under a law that only applies to public officers. Clearly, Judge Bellis thought he was a city officer.

      1. The case was not filed against the city. It was filed against Vallas. If this was all so important to him and he is concerned for the children, why didn’t he enroll in the leadership program.

        He allegedly wrote six papers and had two phone calls to Villanova. He didn’t even go to Uconn.

        The city should not be paying. He should be or his hedgefund buddies can reimburse him if they so desire.

        Why couldn’t he follow the procedures set up just for him?

        Remember it’s all for the children even though when he speaks all one hears is: I, me and my.

    2. I’ve said many times before the City would hire an outside attorney for Vallas’ appeal. There is too much money riding on the back of Vallas staying in power one way or another. Don’t be surprised if the City creates a new position for Vallas still running the school system. You can bet if the City attempts any new tricks, that retired Judge, Carmen Lopez and others in her circle will be there to fight.

    3. Dave, maybe you don’t realize this but the Board of Ed while not under the Mayor (though he thinks otherwise) is still part of the City of Bridgeport and as such even if the Board pays for Vallas’ legal help it is still coming out of the pockets of the taxpayers. And seeing as he has been removed by the court for not being properly credentialed he should be paying for it out of his own pocket. And guess what Dave, go bring a class action suit … guess who pays for those lawyers … the taxypayers …

      1. BRG,
        The BOE is a separate and distinct legal entity from the City of Bridgeport. Vallas works for the BOE and not the City. The BOE’s budget is funded 80 percent with state and federal funds. Therefore, if the BOE pays based on the agreed on City contribution and overall budget levels, the City will effectively pay 20 percent of the cost whereas if the City pays directly and beyond its agreed contribution then Bridgeport taxpayers will incur 100 percent of the cost. That’s how the math works and the money flows.

        1. So your reassuring news is taxpayers throughout CT and the USA will be paying 80% for a businessman’s defense when he didn’t take the time to follow a law written just for him?

          Got it! So we can all sue Vallas for a refund when this is settled, either way.

          If a teacher lets her certification lapse, he or she doesn’t keep their classroom door closed and then hire lawyers and pass the bill on to the taxpayers.

          Obviously some of us are more equal than others.

        2. And by the way Dave, the last I checked the state wasn’t exactly awash in money, so passing the buck isn’t actually a solution all of us should have to swallow just so exceptions can be made for friends of Arne and Stefan.

          The working people of CT are not feeling the love for V. We love our children, our teachers, our community, not a traveling carpetbagger.

        3. One last thing and then off to bed. I thought you were a fiscal hawk, but it’s okay to pass off the legal fees to the hard-working taxpayers throughout our state, including Bridgeport, and our country.

          1. jakedog,
            Calm down. You are misreading my comment. I am not advocating for the taxpayers to pay for these expenses. I am making it clear it is not a matter for the City of Bridgeport to decide and pay for. You are correct that both the state of Connecticut and the City of Bridgeport are in poor financial condition. Don’t kid yourself though, Connecticut and Bridgeport waste huge amounts of money on many things and both government entities need to engage in transformational reforms to improve their economy, efficiency and effectiveness. We need governance, financial and education reforms, among other things.

          2. Yes, I agree there is lots of waste and this is one of them. He should pay himself since he didn’t follow the law designed and written just for him. So what now?

          3. Dave, please file the lawsuit (for reimbursement of all legal fees) on behalf of the citizens of Bridgeport and CT. Follow the lead of other citizens in the city who have won twice already. Thank you.

          4. jakedog, come on man, stop trying to be funny, you know David Walker will not file any kind of lawsuit, he’d rather talk than take action, an editorial is not taking action. What Carmen Lopez did is taking real action with a positive result for the residents of Bridgeport, that’s the type of leadership we need, not comments. Time will tell.

          5. Please get our money back for the Vallas defense. He didn’t follow the procedures written in a law JUST for him, so he should pay.

            I know you told someone to walk the walk or put up or be quiet.

            So I think your group should do the same.

  13. If we initiate an immediate class action against city funds paying Vallas’ legal fees, we will prevail. Vallas is an independent contractor. He has zero rights to legal support to fight a prima facia case challenging he is not credentialed and therefor NOT QUALIFIED BY STATE LAW to do the work for which he was engaged. Those people who made the decision to pay his legal fees should be named in the action. People in this town really need to start thinking.

    1. yahooy,
      I agree. It may also be time to begin pursuing disbarment actions in connection with certain attorneys. FOIA requests and ethics complaints alone will not get the job done but they will also continue to be filed.

  14. I have to say I find Mayor Finch’s statement deeply offensive. What schools her children go to is irrelevant. The only issue before her was whether Vallas met the requirements for certification as Superintendent. She decided–incorrectly, I think–he didn’t.

    The Mayor then goes on to say he is confident an “impartial” higher court will rule in the City’s favor. Is he saying Judge Bellis was not impartial? If so, he has an obligation to say so and cite facts to support his claim. Doing any less would be irresponsible.

    1. Or the higher court is more of a political monster and maybe somebody owes somebody a favor.

      So Phil can a teacher let their cert lapse or not even earn one ever and just get renewed because they once did “good work” and he or she cares about the kids?

      1. Agreed!

        As a registered Democrat who is considered an energetic progressive by his friends, I think in our city, dominated by one political party, it’s a sad waste of human potential and opportunity to have the pretty much unchallenged leaders of that party so craven as not to get up, take responsibility (direct or indirect, who cares), insist on a clear, complete accounting, and putting processes in place going forward to ensure such mistakes are not repeated. What do they have to lose? My gosh, Mayor Finch could pretty much canonize himself by doing so. But apparently he is OK with the dreadful status quo … or his handlers have told him to let his hired guns lead the show.

        In my humble opinion, yes, Mayor Finch–with his repeatedly loose accountability standards–is the common thread that holds together the poor governance I have witnessed since moving to Bridgeport nine months ago. Neither Paul Vallas nor even the Second Coming could change that.

        Observed examples of which I speak: (1) snow removal debacle; (2) aggressively selling sugar-coated falsehoods regarding the purposes and benefits of his administration’s attempt to usurp BOE powers, to no avail; (3) pretending there is no clear conflict of interest in rolling up the city’s finance responsibilities into the city council because it suits his cozy managerial incest with city departments and cronies; (4) pretending the Bridgeport superintendent of schools is fine to dance around the legal requirements set by the state, and then wasting precious resources on fighting the widely known and openly discussed legal requirements in court, and then on losing in court, blaming the judge’s lack of impartiality and that she doesn’t have children currently attending Bridgeport public schools; and finally (5) the Moutinho driveway boondoggle.

        And that’s just nine months of casual outsider observation … by a registered Democrat!

        God help us.

        1. Pete,
          Great post. We need to help ourselves but God’s help is always invaluable. You need to get involved with CW4BB, which has Democrats, Republicans, Independents and others involved.

      2. The Great Oz has spoken. As far as out of touch, so are you and and Mr. Oats. As far as bull fertilizer, you and JML give Finch a run for the money.

    2. The law is quite clear even for laypersons. He didn’t take the required leadership courses and didn’t even meet the requirements of a sham course written especially for him. How much more money has to be wasted from the City proper accounts, the separate Bd of Ed accounts, state, private individuals to keep this fraud in a job he is not qualified to hold in the state of Connecticut and probably most other states?

  15. Well it is no mystery they won’t start a search unless Vallas is gonzo. I get what Bellis did.

    Don’t know how I feel about this really but I do ask: Who is Paying for this?

  16. “No Man Is Above The Law!”

    The Finch Administration should read this link and weep.
    www .washingtonpost.com/politics/chesterfield-smith-aba-head-during-watergate/2012/05/31/gJQANb9TGV_story.html

    Mr. Vallas a year ago said he would not be returning at the end of the 2013 educational year. He tested the waters and found no takers. Then he wanted a three-year deal from the city. As soon as he made that statement last year the BOE should have gone out for a search. If Mr. Vallas met the qualifications of the state of Connecticut then he could have been included in that search. Mr. Mulligan meowed that we now have to spend $100k for a national search. He and his fellow board members who illegally blew up the BOE have cost the city millions in litigation.

    Finally, I am waiting for the Mayor to be holding a telethon on Labor Day for a Bill’s Kid’s Campaign. Problem is the more he says it’s about the kids the larger the bill is for the city. It’s all about the Benjamins!

    1. Connecticut’s superior court has ruled Paul Vallas lacks the legal credentials to serve as Bridgeport’s superintendent of schools.

      Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education violated Connecticut law when he waived Vallas’ certification requirements because Vallas had not completed a school leadership program as required.

      The Connecticut court further ruled because Vallas lacks the appropriate requirements to hold the job he must leave the position immediately.

      And without any approval by the Bridgeport City Council or the Bridgeport Board of Education, the taxpayers of Bridgeport (and Connecticut) are paying for Vallas’ legal fees.

      THE FACTS:

      Read more:

      1. And read this comment left in the above WSJ article … we were warned:
        Lee Barrios Wrote:
        Paul Vallas is just another hired gun in the efforts of private enterprise to privatize public education and profit off the backs of our children. Does anybody up there read the news outside of your own state? Vallas did his dirty work to Chicago public schools, then Philadelphia, and then here in New Orleans after pocketing millions of dollars. Of course the main stream media paints a pretty picture. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see that Vallas’ “blueprint” will be a carbon copy of his previous work: use high stakes standardized test scores to create a culture of FAILURE, close public schools and replace with charters, provide vouchers, replace certified teachers with Teach for America personnel and administrators with Broad Academy grads, sponsor legislation that will ensure a large percentage of teachers are fired through invalid and unreliable value added measurement, cull low performing students at selected charters with selective enrollment, suspensions/expulsions, transfers, refusing special education services, open “Academies” for high needs low performing students deemed discipline problems to use as dumping grounds. . . . . The New Orleans Recover School District previously run by Vallas is still failing and the lowest performing district in the state after 6 years. Taxpayers beware. It will be accomplished before you know it is a hoax.

  17. CT Post-06/11/13

    In her decision, Bellis ruled said Vallas would not suffer if she lifted the stay, pointing out he had testified he was expecting a $1 million payment for doing outside consulting work while he was superintendent. She also pointed out that he knew taking the Bridgeport position was risky.

    Talk about a Gravy Train!

    1. A never-ending gravy train and it has been in operation for 20 years, when he was the CEO of Chicago schools. See explanation here from Chicago resident:

      Neither Vallas nor Duncan were qualified to work in any other school district in Illinois, nor would they be permitted to do so today, because the state has extensive education, experience and certification requirements for administrative and teaching positions.

      The only reason why they were able to oversee the Chicago Public Schools was because the mayor of Chicago asked the state legislature to amend the School Code as it applies to Chicago (for populations over 500,000), in order to permit mayoral control in 1995, which includes mayoral appointment of a CEO of schools.

      1. It appears Malloy and Pryor should have rewritten the law differently and now they are wondering, what were we thinking? Or maybe they were banking on the mayoral referendum for mayoral control. After all, the cash was flowing in from all over the country: Bloomberg, Rhee and Students last, even her famous basketball/mayor husband flew in to hobnob with the Bridgeport elite. Well, that didn’t work either!

  18. Maybe it’s just me, but in their above statement Excel Bridgeport seems to be starting to put just a little distance between themselves and Vallas.

  19. Imagine if Paul Vallas were a high school student what the principal would say to him: Now Mr. Vallas all this could have been avoided if you just completed your assignments.

  20. Think first about how the dominant policy paradigms in America–tax cuts for the rich, deregulation and budget cuts to social services–exacerbate inequality and poverty, but also benefit the major corporations that fund the “reform” movement. Then think about how it isn’t a coincidence the “reform” movement’s goal is to divert the education policy conversation away from anything having to do with poverty and economic inequality.

    You can tell that’s not a coincidence because unlike other issues, the topics of poverty and economic inequality will inevitably prompt a conversation about changing the underlying economic policies (regressive taxes, deregulation, etc.) that create crushing poverty and inequality. For corporations served by the existing economic paradigm and for the politicians and activists those corporations underwrite, such a conversation is simply unacceptable because changing the policies that create poverty and inequality potentially threatens their existing financial power and privilege. Thus, those corporations, politicians and activists in the “reform” movement do whatever they can–bash teachers, scream strong-but-meaningless words like “accountability,” criticize public school structures, etc.–to shift the education conversation away from poverty and inequality.

    Reality, though, is finally catching up with the “reform” movement’s propaganda. With poverty and inequality intensifying, a conversation about the real problem is finally starting to happen. And the more education “reformers” try to distract from it, the more they will expose the fact they aren’t driven by concern for kids but by the ugliest kind of greed–the kind that feigns concerns for kids in order to pad the corporate bottom line.

      1. Ron,
        You obviously have not read my book, listened to any of my related speeches, read any of my related other written publications, nor have you met me nor do you know me personally. Therefore it’s time for you to to either put up or shut up. Walk the walk if you dare.

          1. BRG,
            You have been ‘gut checked’ multiple times. If it were in person, you would hear (about your credits, put up or tone it down … if credibility matters to you) a challenge. But you have been deaf. You put out challenges, you put out insults (or what you think pass for insults) and you continue to fail to talk about facts you know for certain and you attack the other poster? Where is your credibility? BRG, you can’t walk the walk (except from Bridgeport to Arizona, I guess) but you keep talking dreck. What the heck! Time will tell.

    1. Hi “beware”!
      You and Bill Moyers, whose article you quote, are right to emphasize poverty and inequality … and injustice in the context of educational policy.

      Those topics belong in any meaningful discussion on public-education and related policies, in the U.S., CT, and in Bridgeport. Obviously, these are complex and major issues that cannot be ignored. Just think, Bridgeport has roughly half the tax base and twice the population of neighboring Fairfield.

      Unlike the significant issues you are pointing to, though, this OIB post concerns a completely avoidable tale of woe caused by an arrogant superintendent, full of sound and fury, signifying very little … at least very little in terms of the issues you raise.

      The tale of woe shows again the critical need for our Bridgeport leaders to get the basics right and to avoid making more unforced errors that can become very costly, in the short term and in the long term, for everyone.

      1. Yes Pete, I agree. I posted because the Vallas and Pryor turnarounds are masquerading as school reforms when in reality we need city and society transformations.

        The plan is to raise test scores a bit, claim victory and then head to the next reformy place. It is very short term because it is designed to be a smash and grab for one man, his vendors, his team, etc.

        Sparkly language and repeating the same slogans everywhere you go is bound to catch up with one sooner or later. I think little ol’ Bridgeport might be the place to slow down or halt what Chicago, Philly and NOLA now wish they could have stopped.

        Nationally the “school reform” charade is being perpetrated on our poorest cities and our most vulnerable children and families.

        It WILL be the shame of our nation and sadly under the leadership of our first bi-racial president. Who would have imagined that?

  21. Malloy Defends Embattled Superintendent Before Judge Boots Him

    After Vallas was appointed to the position in 2011, it was learned that he lacked the leadership certificate necessary to be a superintendent in Connecticut. So the state modified the law and decided he could obtain the certificate by completing a 13-month program at the University of Connecticut. When he failed to do that the state Education Board approved an abbreviated independent study, but Judge Bellis wasn’t convinced that the independent study satisfied the requirements.

    Asked if he thinks the state should offer a path for someone like Vallas to receive the credentials he needs to be a superintendent, Malloy responded again with a rhetorical question.
    www .ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/malloy_defends_embattled_superintendent_before_judge_boots_him/

  22. In her decision, Bellis ruled Vallas would not suffer if she lifted the stay, pointing out he had testified he was expecting a $1 million payment for doing outside consulting work while he was superintendent.
    Did you folks read that!!!
    He was expecting one million dollars for outside consulting work!
    Just who is the fool here? The taxpayers of the city of Bridgeport, that’s who.
    Of course Vallas wants to stay on as super. He makes in excess of $200,000 for this part-time job, while raking in millions in consulting.
    Now we know for sure when Vallas and his supporters say it’s all about the kids, they are talking about Vallas’ kids and what their future inheritance might be.

  23. You need to brush up on the reformy terms … here is a sample and then the full dictionary.

    For the Children (phrase): This actually doesn’t mean anything. The Reformy equivalent to chanting “USA! USA!”

    Reformy rhetoric, where language is turned inside out to disguise reality.

    Volumes 1, 2 and 3 are out!



  24. For those of you still dancing, is it about time to give up some for the kids? Who does what when Vallas leaves the office? (What ‘reformist’ conspiracy including Charter Schools needs to be stopped in its tracks? Is there a teachers’ contract upcoming? What should be done in that regard? Will any of you be at the City Council next week to ask for “minimum budget requirement” funding from the City?) You have shown your regard for Paul Vallas, a man from outside our community, who through observation on my part during the past year I feel is capable, caring and “qualified” to turn schools around (but certainly not “certified,” it is clear. If he is history, as seems more than likely, what are you going to do? Ghostbusters is busy! What will make all the students, all the parents, and all of the teachers happy today so the school year can start off productively? Looking for practical genius input from OIB posters, the fully named and the anonymous. Time will tell.

    1. Bring in a temporary administrator. There are more than enough supers and asst supers (they have to meet the same requirements) and even some principals who may be certified who will no doubt do a better job than your buddy Paulie the Flim-Flam Man.

  25. Please send this post to Stefan Pryor, state commissioner of education. He is the leader. See what he says. Hold those at the top accountable … transparency and high standards for all, not just the lowly classroom teacher.

    Vallas said he wrote a comprehensive five-year plan and if that is true it should be no problem implementing. He admitted there are risks with these positions. Apparently it may not work out in his favor this time, in terms of his income.

    But don’t cry for Paul … he has a cool one million coming from the state of Illinois.

    His past has spoken for him and it appears we will be moving on, alas!

    1. jd,
      Your bark has been so loud about the danger Vallas has posed for the community, you have also warned me against Pryor and Malloy.
      That is why I asked you for your advice. What is your plan for the youth of Bridgeport when school opens? What type of background are you looking for? When will you go public yourself and speak up for education funding at the City Council?
      I believe BlackRockGuy is out of town, but I thought some Thursday evening on McLevy Green I would get to hear you, jakedog, beware, and Bob Walsh sing together and show us some of your steps, too. You certainly have the lyrics down to “Vallas the Villain” but whether you can harmonize with anyone else is a genuine question. Time will tell.

    1. If it is sponsored by Webster you betcha it will be promoting charters.

      Dacia Toll, co-CEO who started Amistad and AF with Stefan Pryor, is married to Jeff Klaus, VP of Webster.

      I imagine they will spin it as a rally for public schools, but the kind that take taxpayer money but then don’t follow all those pesky regulations, laws and procedures. Kind of like Vallas. Lots of AF press in the CT media outlets recently: just google Achievement First and suspension rates.

  26. I know many of you have heard about the lower court’s ruling yesterday and are wondering about what will happen next. Let me assure you that the judge’s ruling, which was not unexpected, is being appealed to a higher court where we are confident we will prevail. In the meantime, my status has not changed and I will continue to work with you to provide the children of Bridgeport with the educational opportunities they deserve.

    Pasta supper anyone to help reduce the legal fees?

  27. Ron Mackey,
    For someone who does not know me at all you sure have a lot of opinions about me and what I allegedly think and will do. Unfortunately for others, your opinions are based on fiction rather than fact. What’s your problem(s)? Other than mouthing off on OIB, what else do you do? Please list your accomplishments relating to the City, State and Nation for us. It won’t take long, if any, time for you to do so. Clearly, they haven’t been reported by anyone else before. Don’t be shy, show us what you have accomplished to make things better for others lately. We’re waiting.

    1. Dave Walker, unlike you I don’t have to boast about myself, I am very secure in who I am and my service to this country, this city, my community, any organization and to the black community. I understand you have only been in Bridgeport just over three years so just ask around or Google or go into the archives of the Connecticut Post, I let others talk about whatever I have done unlike you who is always telling us you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. It seems like I hit a nerve.

      1. Ron,
        I did Google you and didn’t find anything recent you have done to help create a better future. Join CW4BB and start acting versus just talking.

  28. jakedog,
    Careful judgment has to be used in connection with the scope and timing of lawsuits. At the same time, no one can credibly say I and other members of CW4BB are not walking the walk. We have filed several FOIA requests, several ethics complaints, testified at several Council meetings, supported state governance related legislation, and formed a PAC to be involved in selected local and state elections. As I said, I expect litigation will be added to our efforts in due course. All the best.

  29. Ron,
    Let the record show you did not list a single accomplishment in recent times. I rest my case. Words are cheap. Actions are what count. You need to quit complaining and attacking and start doing something constructive. Your credibility is at stake.

  30. Dave Walker, I tell you what, I see you won’t look up who I am and what I have done. I gave you different ways to find out about me but you are too lazy to find out. I will give you a starting point, just ask the past five mayors in Bridgeport about me, that’s not hard to do. In fact I have been involved in more lawsuits against the City than you have, let me think, you have been involved in how many? That’s what I thought. When you have some results here in Bridgeport then we can compare them but for now you are all talk with NO results here. Tell will tell.

  31. Ron,
    I didn’t say you haven’t done anything. I said you haven’t done anything lately. I did Google you and it confirms what I said. I see you have been involved in many discrimination lawsuits, but what else? You must have a lot of time on your hands because you rant and unfairly and inaccurately attack people a lot on OIB. I have a full-time job and many other volunteer roles. I don’t have time to waste and I won’t waste time on you. If you decide to get serious and do something then let me know. Until then, adios.

    1. Dave Walker, it takes no time to read comments on OIB and to reply especially if you have lived and worked in Bridgeport your entire life and know the players and issues. You and anyone else do not have to read or reply to anything I post, my thoughts and opinions are just that, they belong to me. I love this City and have chosen to live here and I will fight to make it better but I don’t have to follow behind those who have agendas I have problems with or who do not agree with mine.

      1. Ron,
        I read the OIB piece. I agree that East End residents deserve a supermarket and not just a one day a week farmers market. Mayor Finch is more about form than substance and this situation is no exception. At the same time, my wife Mary and I will check out the farmers markets. We used them in Virginia regularly and have missed them in CT.

    1. Thanks for the link. Great comment left on CT Mirror:
      Hanging on For Dear Life

      Submitted by Noteworthy on 07/12/2013 05:07 pm

      Vallas is going to get every last drop of milk from the public teat he can before he’s dragged off its sagging bosom. It’s really pathetic to watch this grown man knowingly, intentionally and willfully violate our laws and claim he doesn’t need to follow them because he’s special. Vallas got special class treatment and then, couldn’t even abide by that which is what has brought it to this point. When you become the story instead of our children, it’s time to go.

  32. Ron,
    Thanks for your very constructive comments. I agree some of my and CW4BB’s efforts have not generated the outcome-based results we seek yet but it takes time to break a political machine that has been in place for decades. We are dedicated to doing so. I would be happy to come to meet with you and other people on the East End along with other CW4BB leaders. Would you be willing to help organize a meeting and participate?

    1. David Walker, I suggest you make contact with Mary-Jane Foster, Mr. Baker supported her in the primary for mayor plus she has a good relationship with the black community even though there were some who told lies about her, she is a good person.


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