Parents Push For Appointed School Board–Monday Rally Planned

A group of city parents calling themselves Parents for Progress has scheduled a rally for Monday at 11 a.m. in front of City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace, to encourage support of a mayoral-appointed Board of Education. City voters will decide on Nov. 6 if they want a school board appointed by the mayor or continue with an elected body.

“With just one month until election day, Bridgeport public school parents and citizens have united in support of a local charter revision referendum that will hold the Mayor accountable for school improvements and keep the city’s classrooms moving in the right direction,” according to a statement issued by Excel Bridgeport, a school reform group financing and organizing voter outreach in support of a yes vote on the November 6 ballot question.

Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign organization, through an effort funded largely by the business community, has also begun a public outreach in support of the question that includes phone calls and direct mail pieces. Excel Bridgeport is also financing a series of measures to build public support. More on Excel Bridgeport at Supporters of a yes vote maintain progress was made under a state-appointed school board before the Connecticut Supreme Court invalidated the move and ordered a special election that has now restored an elected body.

Several community organizations are working against the ballot question including the Bridgeport Education Association, Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition and Connecticut’s Working Families Party. All three groups say whatever perceived progress has taken place could have also been done with an elected board. They maintain greater accountability exists with an elected board. How much money the organized opposition spends will be key in its effort to defeat the ballot question.

While election turnout in the city has been pathetic for local races, that won’t be the case in November’s presidential election when more than 50 percent of registered voters are expected to turn out.

Voters will decide this question:

“Shall the City of Bridgeport approve and adopt the Charter changes as recommended by the Charter Revision Commission and approved by the City Council, including education governance reforms?”



  1. Bully Boy Finch and his cohorts are trying to buy another election.

    Once again I beg the question, how come Leticia Colon’s council seat has not been filled? The citizens of the 131st deserve their right to representation, even if it is by the Robles Mob.

  2. Okay, because the phone survey I received presented an argument that if as few as only 1% of people voted, then that low percentage is not much different than the mayor appointing BOE members.

      1. I consider voting a privilege but I do not want the government telling me I have to vote or I will be fined. I have never missed a vote no matter what it’s for. If a fine system were imposed I would purposely not vote then let the city try to collect.
        Maybe if more viable candidates are put up for election then more people would vote.

  3. The right to vote is probably only second to “freedom of speech” when we consider what freedom means in the US for most people. Military service people die to sustain the freedom we are told. Teachers provide historical examples of courage and justice in those who fought to change laws and maintain good environments. And then citizens, though they may be registered, fail to inform themselves and fail to vote. What a revolting situation this is!!!
    So I have suggested a fine for those who are registered and despite getting mail from the ROV each cycle and other services paid by all taxpayers ignore the right and responsibility. Just like leaving your car in front of a meter that has expired.
    For those who don’t like fining the neighbor who sits and complains, how about striking them from the ROV register if they fail to vote in back-to-back elections (without a realistic excuse)? If someone is a deadbeat about civic responsibility, take the right away. It’s too heavy for them.
    Many people in the professions or financial service areas must do continuing education every year to stay informed in order to maintain the licensing (right to do business) that generates the revenue from the customer.
    I am sure there are other ideas out there. But the major alternative, and one not seized by the SILENT ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES is to educate their neighbors about voter rights. Who does that regularly and systematically today? Mayor Finch would rather take the vote away from the kids in school today who are under 18 on the subject of BOE than ask them to reach out to the adults they know for voting action today in the form of a NO vote. Let High School youth speak out for themselves on the subject. Time will tell.

  4. On Nov 6 we have right to vote on taking our right to vote away? Seems odd. Conventional wisdom, always defend the right to vote. Yet for those of us who will vote to defend our right to elect BOE members (‘no’ to charter revision), a question: at what point do BOE members no longer really represent? At 5% turnout, at 1%? Where is threshold? And how do we balance these rights with urgent city needs? Is this the mayor’s argument and that of next Monday’s protesters?

  5. Mayor Bill Finch has told all of us what he thinks of voting when he declared last year ‘sometimes democracy doesn’t work.’ And if you limit the public’s right to be heard by their representatives while in session, and you limit the professional and ethical training of those representatives, and if you allow conflicts of interest to persist in local affairs the Feds and the State would likely find unethical, and if you do not provide comprehensive and timely fiscal info, particularly, in the normal course of public responsibilities, then you are not ACCOUNTABLE. And ACCOUNTABILITY is what he has said he will provide to the public regarding his appointments to the BOE if we deny our right to elect them. This administration operates in a closed manner in that Elaine F. is the gatekeeper who must be awaited before any responsible party can utter a comment. (In some places that would be evidence of paranoia.) And if that establishes OPEN is not practiced here then processes are not TRANSPARENT either. And the Mayor shows no continuing commitment to ACCOUNTABILITY. Just look at his refusal to acknowledge his flat funding of BOE for 3-4 years of public schools budgets. What is his ACCOUNTABLE explanation? Did he have a game plan working in Hartford at that time? If so, is he then responsible for some of the dissonance and lack of effectiveness for the BOE that disbanded itself in early July, 2011? We will probably never know. But if the Mayor has not been ACCOUNTABLE in so many ways to the voter, why should we allow him to replace us in the selection of BOE representatives? Why don’t we just VOTE NO to the Charter Reform document? Check your schedule on Monday. Time will tell.

  6. *** Parents for Progress? I’ve never heard of this pro-ed parents group before this whole charter revision question about elected or appointed! Is it possible it’s a last-minute Excel Bpt-backed operation that’s managed to rally into a frenzy some parents and interested citizens into getting together for a public media show of support? Who actually stands to gain something from this rally in the long run? Where has this pro-ed group been for the last 30 years I wonder? *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  7. A rumor is circulating about the death of former mayoral candidate Charles B. Tisdale, the executive director of the city’s anti-poverty agency ABCD. Charlie is very much among the living. A relative by the same name has passed away, confirmed by the funeral home handling services.

  8. *** Sounds like a typical pro-ed pep rally where most of the parents really don’t have a clue other than what they’re told to be as gospel! Last minute “do it for the kids” type chanting with flyers, signs and bullhorn speeches! *** ISN’T IT OBVIOUS? ***

  9. Excel claimed by simply appointing a committed BOE, Bridgeport’s schools could be as good as Trumbull, Fairfield or Greenwich. No additional state funding, no reduction in class size, none of that; just a committed board of ed.

    But I’m sure they can spread that same lie to caring and concerned parents who want nothing but the best for their kids and they will try anything.

  10. People vote when they think their vote will make a difference or they are passionate about an issue. In this town voter apathy has created a “who cares?” attitude. The DTC will manipulate the vote anyway is the general thought.

    But, this issue is worthy of passion yet, the message does not reach those who shall be affected.

    The single most expensive item in the budget is the money spent on Board of Education goods and services. These contracts are lucrative and they are sustained each and every year.

    Appointing a school board only puts the decision-making process into the hands of the very people who have abused the citizenry for more than 35 years.

    We cannot allow Finch and Testa and Timpanelli to make these types of decisions. The cost is too great to the individual taxpayer. Plus we cannot be certain these people would make the right decisions that would maximize the benefit of each dollar spent.

    It is shameful that only 5.5% show up for a vote that has such dreadful economic impact.


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