Matt Poland, the Chairman of the Hartford Board of Education, has scheduled a “Special Meeting” of the board on Monday, November 25, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. in the plaza level conference room at 260 Constitution Plaza in Hartford.
According to the agenda that was sent out at 4:59 pm Friday (for a Monday meeting, state law requires that agendas be publicly available by 5pm at the latest), it appears that Superintendent Kishimoto, Chairman Poland and Mayor Segarra are seeking to get the Hartford Board to approve all of the elements of the secret one-year settlement in the Sheff v. O’Neil case except for the language associated with Capital Prep Steve Perry’s ability to set up his own company and move management of Capital Prep and SAND elementary to his private control.
The language of the new resolution that the Hartford Board intends to vote on also appears to try and appease parents at SAND elementary by suggesting that rather than target SAND from the outset, Kishimoto must go through a review process of up to three schools, and include the local school governance councils, before picking a school for some sort of takeover/makeover.
The proponents of the re-vote will argue that Hartford MUST approve this secret Sheff plan in order to receive money that Governor Malloy and the State Department of Education has “put on the table” to fund additional magnet schools in Hartford.
On the other hand, there is no particular reason that these discussions have to be secret and a greater degree of transparency would assure parents, teachers and taxpayers that an honest plan was being considered. Transparency would also have allowed the public to have a better understanding about how Steve Perry’s absurd and counterproduce initiative was inserted into the Sheff settlement.
Hartford is not a party to the Sheff v. O’Neill lawsuit and it is beyond insulting that Governor Malloy and his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor are dictating – in secret – what the Hartford Board of Education MUST DO in order to fulfill a settlement that is not made public until after the decisions are made and yet still needs legislative approval in order to be implemented.
Hartford and its children, parents and teachers deserve better from the state’s highest elected and appointed officials.
Meanwhile, you can read a Hartford Courant editorial on the original vote here: http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-hartford-school-fiasco-20131122,0,7673428.story and a commentary piece by East Hartford State Representative Jason Rojas about finding a more common sense approach for moving forward on the Sheff issues here: http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-op-rojas-sheff-school-plan-needs-new-look-1124-20131122,0,49998.story.