This Tuesday, September 4th, the voters of Bridgeport can finally go to the polls to select members of a democratically elected board of education.
This new board will replace the illegal board of education that has been running Bridgeport’s school for more than a year. It is the illegal board that hired Paul Vallas and his entourage of outside consultants.
Excel Bridgeport is the group that pushed for the state’s illegal takeover and has been working hard to take away the democratic rights of Bridgeport’s citizens by backing the move to completely eliminate an elected board and let the Mayor of the City appoint his own Board of Education.
Recently Excel Bridgeport passed out flyers instructing Bridgeport voters what to consider when voting on Tuesday.
The business-backed group left off some key questions.
So, when thinking about whether or not TO ELECT the three people who have been serving on Bridgeport’s illegal Board of Education, here are a few other questions voters might want to consider;
The three candidates who are running for the new board but were members of the illegal board are:
Kenneth Moales Jr. (Democrat)
Hernan Illingworth (Democrat)
Jacqueline Kelleher (Democrat)
- Why did these members allow Paul Vallas to sign close to $1 million in no-bid contracts to bring in his friends and colleagues to run Bridgeport schools? Many of these people actually work for Vallas’ private consulting group, “The Paul Vallas Group.” They at least could have required competitive bidding to ensure taxpayer’s and parents got the people at the best price.
- Why did these members allow Paul Vallas to sign over $12 million in no-bid contracts for various goods and services include the new textbooks, some of which didn’t even meet the school’s curriculum?
- Why did these members fail to put some type of limitation on Paul Vallas’ outside consulting? Just this summer his company signed a $1 million contract to work in Illinois and an $18 million contract to work in Indianapolis. Plus Vallas also announced that his company was partnering with a multi-million dollar company and Vallas continued his existing consulting work. All the time pulling down his $229,000 salary from Bridgeport.
- Why did these members allow Vallas to add three new rounds of standardized testing? Now Bridgeport’s student will have to go through four major sets of standardized tests, plus all their regular tests. Less time learning and more time taking tests is certainly not how to improve Bridgeport’s schools.
- Why did these members fail to speak up, at least about the appearance of a conflict of interest, when the family member of one illegal Board of Education member “won” hundreds of thousands of dollars in new contracts for early care education?
- Why did these members fail to speak out when Vallas developed a budget that cut Special Education more than any other area? Certainly the parents of Bridgeport had a right to hear more about cuts to these vital programs so that they could judge for themselves whether cutting resources for children needing special education services was the right thing to do.
- Why did these members fail to speak up when the business community only raised a portion of what they said they were going to donate to help Bridgeport’s schools? Over and over business leaders said they were going to cover Vallas’ salary and the consultants that he brought in, but last check they barely covered one-third of those costs.
The list of bad choices and mistakes Bridgeport’s illegal Board of Education made goes on and on, and yet three candidates actually say they should be elected BECAUSE they served on Bridgeport’s illegal Board.
Maybe their motto should be;
We didn’t ask the tough and important questions before, and if you give us more time overseeing Bridgeport’s schools, we’ll continue to NOT ask the touch and important questions.