Rumors of a shake-up and changes at the top are swirling, as Bridgeport’s illegal Board of Education prepares to meet tonight, for the last time.
A democratically elected board of education will finally be chosen on September 4th
Leading the list of rumors is the question whether Sandra Kase, Vallas’ number two, is leaving her position as Bridgeport’s Chief Administrative Officer. Kase, who bills at $900 a day or more than $220,000 a year has been Bridgeport’s primary, day-to-day, administrator. She has also been filling in for Vallas when he is away with his own consulting business in Haiti, Illinois, Indiana and Dallas.
Kase, who also has a consulting company, has been on the job in Bridgeport since January 1, 2012. Less than a month ago, Bridgeport’s illegal board extended Kase’s contract through July 1, 2013, after Vallas demanded that he would only stay if contracts for his team were also extended. Vallas regularly claims that he cut central office expenses by one-third, but has never clarified how that number is impacted by the nearly $1 million in no-bid contracts that he has signed for consultants, many of whom have been retained to do central office functions.
With the school years starting, problems with the Vallas/Kase strategy are becoming increasingly apparent.
For example, after signing a 5 year, $10 million contract for new textbooks, and a separate contract with an Illinois company to barcode those textbooks, many have not been bar-coded and therefore can’t be given to students to check out when school begins.
Kase’s involvement in day-to-day operations can be seen through-out the system. Another prime example is that from January through April, the law firm of Durant, Nichols, et. al., billed the Bridgeport Board of Education over $228,000. Those invoices reference Kase’s name well over 50 times, and that is just one of the law firms the Vallas administration has been using.
As of now, the changes to the central office aren’t clear, but additional information may be presented to the Board at tonight’s meeting.