Back about the time Stefan Pryor became Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, the state’s interim Education Commissioner, George Coleman, retired with a pension of approximately $66,120 a year. (More than three times the $21,900 average annual pension for the average Tier II state employee.)
Coleman’s twenty-five year career in the State Department of Education was topped off when he served as Governor Malloy’s point person during the State’s illegal takeover of the Bridgeport School System.
It was Coleman who appointed the seven individuals who replaced Bridgeport’s democratically elected board of education.
The very seven who then hired “education reformer extraordinaire” Paul Vallas, the man who now serves as Bridgeport’s $229,000 part-time Superintendent of Schools.
The seven individuals who have systematically supported Vallas’ reforms including his ongoing efforts to privatize elements of Bridgeport’s public education system.
The same individuals who the Connecticut State Supreme Court ruled were illegally appointed and who will be removed from their posts when the people of Bridgeport finally get to elect a new board of education in about six weeks.
Now Coleman is headed back to the Bridgeport area where he has landed a job with Cooperative Education Services, the public entity that coordinates education programming in Fairfield County.
Now, in addition to his state pension, Coleman will be collecting a paycheck as part of CES’s “professional development services division.”
According to a story in the Connecticut Post, “Coleman will assess the needs for professional development in early childhood, assist with preschool program development and oversee the coordination of preschool programs for member school districts.”
In the small world department, one of George Coleman’s appointees to the Bridgeport oversight board was Dr. Jacqueline Kelleher, an assistant professor at Sacred Heart University. Kelleher presently serves as Secretary of the Bridgeport Board.
Meanwhile, CES, Coleman’s new employer is governed by a Representative Council made up of school board members from each of the districts served by the organization. In this case, Bridgeport’s representative on CES is none other than Jacqueline Kelleher. So, in essence, Coleman, who appointed Kelleher, has now been hired by an organization, one of whose directors is, in fact, Kelleher.
Although regional education service centers like CES are official state-related entities, funded primarily from state dollars, they are not considered to be “state agencies” so that Mr. Coleman will be able to continue to receive his full state pension while also collecting his new salary.
The illegal takeover of Bridgeport’s schools continue to provide bounty for some (those with the right connections.)