School board forum Nov. 5, 4 to 6 p.m. at Islamic Community Center, State Street and Park Avenue. From the League of Women Voters:
The Bridgeport Board of Education will be dramatically changed by the Nov. 7 municipal election. Voters will blow away most of the current Board, who chose not to seek re-election, and bring into office new faces, many largely unknown to the public. The LWV/Bridgeport chapter will do an event that many local nonprofits will help spread the word about hoping for a large crowd of parents and taxpayers to attend.
Most of the 11 contenders for six open seats have tiny campaign budgets. One candidate (a former school principal) has no campaign fliers at all. Most have a political party endorsement. One collected signatures and petitioned her way onto the ballot. Most are running for four-year terms and two for two-year terms.
This is why the Bridgeport Area League of Women Voters has organized a free public forum Nov. 5 in a central location that all 11 of the candidates have committed to attend. That night six men and five women will tell voters their views about how the City’s schools can better serve more than 21,000 students with less money per student than the other districts in the state. League volunteers will collect questions from the audience, and the League will submit questions of its own. Carole Fanslow of Stratford will be the League moderator.
League forum rules will give each candidate the same amount of time to answer each and every question.
The event will take place the Bridgeport Islamic Community Center (BICC) at the corner of State Street and Park Avenue. “We are honored to host this event because debating education issues is essential for the development we are all looking to achieve in the City of Bridgeport,” says Dr. Ahmed M. Ebrahim, President of the BICC Board of Directors and accounting professor at Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University.
Howard Gardner, endorsed by the Working Family Party (WFP), and John Weldon, endorsed by the Republican Party, are the only incumbents seeking re-election. However, former Democratic BOE member Hernan Illingworth is again endorsed by that party and is trying to return. Newcomers include Republicans Joseph Carbone, Joseph Sokolovic, cross endorsed by WFP, and Chris Taylor, who ran unsuccessfully for Mayor the year Joe Ganim was elected. WFP also endorsed Shavonne Davis, and Democrats endorsed Jessica Muniz-Martinez, Chaila Robinson and Sybil O. Allen. Sara Lewis is the petitioning candidate. Her name will be on Line D on the ballot.
The Board members whose terms are not up in November are Dennis Bradley, Maria Pereira and Ben Walker.