Maria Piranha’s Voracious Fans

Pereira gag
Pereira’s opponents kicked this out on Facebook.

Who says former school board member Maria “Piranha” Pereira doesn’t have a sense of humor? The day after Sauda Baraka was replaced as Board of Education chair by Dave Hennessey, a few gag photos with faux captions have made the rounds on Facebook poking fun at Pereira’s support for Baraka. Pereira provided OIB with the images.

Baraka, Hennessey
Another gag image and caption floating on Facebook. Image was adapted from a CT Post photo.


  1. It is the 21,000 children in the public school system who should be receiving the “wisdom” of OIB readers and the attention of the larger public.

    Wisdom could come from John Bagley who quit the game and went home with his ball, it seems. (But Sauda, as Chair, was still pursuing appropriate probing and questions along with the members of the Facilities Committee recently. It was a sample of what good committees, whether BOE or City Council can do if they are interested.)

    Knowledge about CT Public School systems comes from Maria Pereira, but wise direction for the School Board and system other than her anti-Charter platform is not part of her screed on OIB. Whose loss? She removed herself from the firing line (and the “power”) it seems but the attraction is still there to keeping it personal.

    What the system needs is principled, patient and persistent attention and support, in my opinion. It is very much like being a parent. No pay. Long hours. Seemingly regular frustrations with communications. And your behavior, as a model of behavior, needs to be world class, if you expect the kids to get it. Difficult? Time will tell.

  2. Bow Tie has spoken and we are all so grateful. Here we have the likes of Kenneth Moales who told me I “should get a job” repeatedly and publicly while I was his colleague on the BBOE. He asked me if I was “special ed. or on Ritalin.” I stated once I could not comprehend the direction the BBOE was taking on a particular issue and he stated “so you have a comprehension issue.”

    He has called Mr. Simmons a “clown” repeatedly. Once Ms. Baraka wore two braids to a meeting and she raised her hand to be recognized and said “what do you need, Tonto?” He threatened her in front of a CT Post reporter and she had to file a police report.

    In the last year he has repeatedly called her a “clown,” several weeks ago he stated “listen, baby” while addressing her. He called her a “liar” in front of his elementary school-age son and then that night he offered an apology, he stated his deceased father told him the following: “my father told me you were a liar.” All the while Dave Hennessey, Joe Larcheveque, Hernan Illingworth, Andre Baker and Jacqui Kelleher have sat there in silence and allowed his repeated deplorable behavior go on and on, and Andre Baker actually had the nerve to ask if the censure the BBOE imposed on Moales could be rescinded, and you want to address the behavior of others???

    I have told you once, and I will tell you again, I will run circles around you on a variety of education issues, not just charter schools.

    How dare Sauda, Bobby, John and I take his inexcusable behavior “personal?”

    1. “I have told you once, and I will tell you again, I will run circles around you on a variety of education issues, not just charter schools.”

      I am not sure if this message was meant for me, Ms. Pereira. But since you opened your entry with an expression of appreciation to me, or was it sarcasm, I have taken the opportunity to continue our discussion.

      In our last exchange you stated several areas where the Bridgeport Public School system pays for Charter School expenses as in transportation, special education and certain health and social specialists from its budget. Of course these expenses for students in Charter Schools supported by public funds from the State would be part of the regular Public School budget (for the most part) if there were no Charter Schools and the students were part of the actual Public School system, correct? So your point is, about money?

      And then you mentioned the loss of Federal Title I funds in an amount of potentially $1 Million per year. But that has not happened, and will not happen as long as the population in the school district is stable or growing I am told. Did you forget to mention that fact? So perhaps it is time to tell OIB readers how such funds will grow to $30 Million total in the five-year period mentioned. What are your assumptions?

      I don’t know and am not used to running in circles as you seem proud to proclaim. The reading public deserves to learn and understand all claims to come to an understanding of educational and other issues in the City. Look forward to your response when you are ready. Time will tell.

      1. Bow Tie, I answered your question with specific line items and specific amounts each line item would cost the BBOE just this year alone, and you still want to go back and forth with me. It is not my job to conduct research on your behalf. If you are interested in knowing the information, spend hours researching like I do.

        Your assertions about Charter School expenses and Title I funding are incorrect. Not surprising.

        May I suggest you continue to focus your attention on the city side, because I do believe most people who read this blog would agree my level of knowledge regarding the BBOE and its expenditures is quite accurate and based in research and fact, not rhetoric.

        My introduction was absolutely 100% sarcasm.

        1. Maria,
          It did not take hours to find a handout distributed at a Committee meeting by the CFO from which your numbers are taken. I have stated we are lucky in Bridgeport to have numbers to use that are timely, accurate and more credible than many comments made.
          There is no loss of Title I funding, something I asserted, because our school population has risen, rather than decreased. What is incorrect about that statement? Will we be surprised if you sidestep answering that question?

          Next I asked about the $30 Million number you volunteered over a five year period. Source? Assumptions? Reality? Easy question to answer assuming your “level of knowledge regarding the BBOE and its expenditures” is as expert and accurate as you claim above.

          My point is school-age youth and their parents have been presented with choices to receive education funded with public tax dollars. The choices may seem difficult, or unfair, or even unreasonable, but they are still there. So help all parents and all taxpayers by completing this specific discussion about a statement you made. Is it $30 Million in five years? What does it include? Or is this a WAG (guess) on your part? Time will tell.

          1. Bow Tie, I never received any handouts on this topic at a committee meeting and have no idea what “handouts” you are referencing.

            I created the tables I am referring to and gathered my information from a variety of sources. I have spent countless hours on the CSDE website and Cedar and you want to challenge my data with your rhetoric?

            The BPS loses approximately $600 per child per year every time a child leaves a BPS to enroll in a charter school. The money follows the child one year after they have transferred. If a child leaves Thomas Hooker in 2013/2014 to enroll in Achievement First, in 2014/2015 $600 in Title I funding leaves our district and goes to the charter school.

            I know you breathe Yale oxygen and are so much smarter than all of us who were educated in the BPS, but you are completely wrong on this issue, which is not in any way unusual.

            Since you seem to have “handouts” that were distributed at a committee meeting, I suggest you conduct the analysis necessary to determine how I produced the figure of approximately $30 million. But first, loosen your bow tie.

  3. On a side note, Sauda and I got a good laugh out of these images. You have to be thick-skinned when you are opposed to those in power and it is pretty clear we rattle their cages.

    A wise person told me once, if you weren’t effective they wouldn’t feel the need to put time into efforts like this.

    My only issue is I really hate this photo. Oh well!

    1. Ms. Pereira,
      No need to get angry or attack a questioner. Please answer the question of where you project $30 Million in five years? Pulling numbers out of the air? That’s a lot worse than rhetoric, isn’t it?
      The question I asked, lest you forget is whether the City of Bridgeport is losing or will lose $1 Million from Federal Title I grants as long as the school population does not decrease. And your answer is? Because you know the answer, and as a supporter of education for the youth of Bridgeport, surely you wish to inform the voting and tax-paying adults. The question is factual, and not an opinion. Cat got your tongue? Or are you going to make another BOW TIE reference? Time will tell.

      1. Of course they will lose approximately $1 million in 2014/2015. If all the students currently enrolled in state charter schools located in Bridgeport were attending their neighborhood school or magnet school, the BPS would have an additional $1 million dollars in Title I funding this school year alone.

        Bow Tie, I am not angry. I am just annoyed. You are kind of like one of those trick birthday candles you blow out over and over again, however they just keep relighting. That is of course until you soak them in running tap water. That brings me to ask you if I were to run you under cold running tap water, would you just finally and unequivocally blow out? If the answer is yes, I would like to invite you over for dinner.

        1. Perhaps we are coming to a moment of understanding. Families of school-age youth who live in Bridgeport have been given a choice of schools that are publicly funded and the State and Federal government have set up provisions such that money follows the student to support certain activities. Is this another way of narrating the financial story? Is it accurate? Does that sound like a terrible situation? Time will tell.

          1. Please do identify the “State” law that requires money must follow the child. Title I is a federal grant governed by federal law, not state law. You do not know what you are writing about. Please stop pretending you do.

          2. Free choice of the systems available is the answer, Ms. Pereira. The State Legislature has provided support to the State Board of Education that has created opportunities for Charter Schools to serve the youth of CT.
            Parents can choose. Taxpayers pay without choice and without good accountability. Administrators take in the funds based on laws and distribute per laws or regulations and there we are. In that way, when money moves from the public school budget to the Charter School budgets it is because it is following a student whose parents have made a choice, hopefully free and informed. Sometimes you don’t need a specific law to get human beings moving in different directions and consequences taking form. Put a smile on your face and tell your own story in your own way. Time will tell.

          3. Bow Tie, nice flowery reply. There is no such thing as school “choice,” there is only school “chance.” After all, admission is by lottery.
            Still waiting for the “State” provision mandating funding must follow the child. I guarantee you will not be able to post it because it does not exist.

    1. Okay Mustang, seriously bad acting. What does that clip have to do with the price of eggs in China or have you become Joel Gonzales? Speaking of Joel, is he okay? He hasn’t been online, or has he?

  4. Ms. Pereira,
    You have twice asked for a state law that is not there. I did not claim there was a law, as you know because I know good researchers can read for comprehension.
    I used the word choice for what faces parents in Bridgeport today who look at the scene. There are publicly funded Charter Schools and publicly funded public schools. And where more people want one type more than another type, BECAUSE OF CHOICE, a lottery is one way to temporarily provide a solution.
    For a former member of the BOE and current self-regarded expert, I think all of this is obvious. People want what is good, effective and working for their children. If it seems like that is what Charter Schools appear to some parents, who am I to argue about it?
    I am not a proponent of a particular system, and therefore not dead set against one or the other. I appreciate an entity that is supported by public funds to perform for the people, and if it does not or cannot reform itself, it needs to change … somehow … someway … with lots of people at the table with lots of facts … lots of studies … many experts … and make a decision … give it some time … have metrics and monitor … and feed the system with resources. Has this been what has happened in Bridgeport? Time will tell.


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