Hartford Courant reporting – Harold Sparrow withdraws candidacy for Hartford School Board

In a breaking story entitled, Amid Controversy, Sparrow Withdraws Candidacy For Hartford School Board, the Hartford Courant is reporting that Harold Sparrow has asked Mayor Bronin to withdraw his nomination for the Hartford School Board.  The Courant reports,

Mayor Luke Bronin’s embattled nominee for the city school board, YMCA official Harold Sparrow, has withdrawn his candidacy on the eve of Monday’s confirmation hearing, stating that controversy over his past employment had become a distraction that would take awhile to overcome


Sparrow, 60, president and CEO of the region’s YMCA, was nominated Thursday to fill a vacant seat on the board, with the mayor anticipating the city council’s approval at a special meeting Monday evening.

But then came revelations Friday that Sparrow had once led a black clergymen’s group during a time when the organization was openly against gay marriage.

In 2004, the same year that Massachusetts became the first state in the nation where same-sex couples could marry, the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston put out a public statement calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Sparrow was the group’s CEO and executive director from 2002 to 2007.

Former state legislator and blogger Jonathan Pelto noted the alliance’s stance in an online post late Friday afternoon. Within hours, Sparrow had distanced himself from the 2004 statement, telling The Courant that it did not reflect his personal views, that he was “unequivocally” in support of marriage equality and LGBTQ rights, and that he has pushed for inclusiveness at the YMCA of Greater Hartford since becoming its leader in 2015.

Bronin told The Courant Friday night that he was unaware of the alliance’s anti-gay marriage position when he nominated Sparrow, and was “deeply troubled when I learned of it.” But he had planned to move ahead with Monday’s vote after speaking with Sparrow and being assured that he was committed to a “welcoming and supportive environment” in the city schools for all students, including those who are gay, lesbian, transgender or questioning.

The full Hartford Courant story can be read at: http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-harold-sparrow-hartford-school-board-0130-20170129-story.html

Harold Sparrow – Founding member of a Boston Charter School, former private school trustee –  nominated to Hartford School Board

As previous Wait, What? posts explained, (See:  Breaking News – Hartford Mayor nominates anti-gay marriage leader for vacancy on the Hartford School Board and Update – His group’s anti-gay marriage position did not represent his own beliefs says Bronin nominee for school board) Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin is trying to put Harold Sparrow on the Hartford School Board.

And what is Harold Sparrow’s experience with education?

  • Closing the Hartford YMCA’s successful and popular Read to Succeed Program…
  • A founding member of a charter school in Boston that is now ranked among the worst schools in Massachusetts…
  • A former trustee for two private schools, one that charges $45,000 a year and the other $37,000 a year…

When nominating Sparrow, Bronin cites his “extensive experience in organizational leadership and management,” but under Sparrow’s so-called leadership, the YMCA closed its successful Read to Succeed Program last May.

Read to Succeed was a specialized literacy program that had been successfully educating Hartford residents to read for more than 30 years.  By all accounts it was an extraordinary program and Sparrow’s handling of the situation was a blight on the reputation of the YMCA.

Although the YMCA’s Mission Statement reads that it provides literacy education services to adults, the program was shut down in disregard to widespread anger and opposition.

Hartford Courant’s articles and its Letters to the Editor section was filed with outrage and condemnation.

Comments and observations included;

“Read to Succeed does not duplicate the services of any other community adult literacy program — it is a unique, individualized program that helps adults with learning disabilities.” 

“The YMCA of Greater Hartford has lost its mission! Why close one of the only programs at the Downtown branch that impacts Hartford residents and aligns with the states workforce ready literacy skills and the YMCA’s own mission?”

“Truth is the Read to Succeed literacy program is needed now more than ever before as our future workforce demands for literacy skills is at its highest.”

“It’s a great loss for our community, especially those who are trying their best to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and be educated in a more firm and direct way.” 

“This vital program teaches adults with dyslexia and other cognitive challenges how to read using a multisensory language approach.”

“[Due to] the impending termination of the Greater Hartford YMCA’s Read to Succeed program, countless Greater Hartford area residents will be denied the benefits of this life-changing adult literacy program.”

“Most students at Read to Succeed have been unable to find success in conventional adult remedial programs.”

“Read to Succeed has offered the hope of a better, more productive life. Students have realized the importance of adult literacy skills to raise children who have strong literacy skills, to keep themselves and their families healthy, to be self-advocates, to reduce crime and to be active in their communities. “

In addition to the mishandling of the Read to Succeed issue, Harold Sparrow’s experience with education policy is extremely minimal, at best.

Sparrow served on two elite, private school boards, the Park School Board of Trustees in Brookline, Massachusetts from 2002 to 2008 and the Beaver Country Day School in Newton, Massachusetts form 2008 – 2011.  The Park School charges $37,000 a year to attend while the Beaver Country Day School’s tuition is $45,500 a year.

Neither of these experiences would possibly prepare him for the challenges facing Hartford’s public schools.

In addition, according to documents filed with the Department of Education in Massachusetts, Sparrow was a founder member of the Boston Bridge Charter School, which is now one of the lowest performing schools in Massachusetts.

Interestingly, while his on-line bio reference his time on the two fancy private schools, there is no mention of his role with the Bridge Boston Charter School in Boston Massachusetts.

A rush vote by the Hartford City Council on Mayor Bonin’s nomination of Harold Sparrow is expected today – Monday, January 30, 2017.

Update – His group’s anti-gay marriage position did not represent his own beliefs says Bronin nominee for school board

As Massachusetts moved toward its historic approval of same-sex marriage rights, the Boston Ministerial Alliance engaged in a heated and hateful campaign to stop the effort.  Their campaign included issuing a statement condemning gay marriage;

It is with a clear conscience that the Black Ministerial Alliance adds our voice to those speaking on the subject of marriage


We believe marriage to be a unique covenant established between a man and a woman…

We acknowledge the pain and suffering of the men and women in the gay and lesbian community who are in long term relationships. However, given the most recent opinion of the Supreme Judicial Court eliminating the possibility of Civil Unions, we support the call for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman.

The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Inc.

But now, the individual who served as the group’s Executive Director at the time says the effort did not represent his beliefs.

In a strongly worded denial, Harold Sparrow (Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin’s nominee to serve on the Hartford Board of Education) released a statement in response to yesterday’s Wait, What? post entitled, Breaking News – Hartford Mayor nominates anti-gay marriage leader for vacancy on the Hartford School Board.

Sparrow wrote;

“I regret that a 2004 statement issued by the ministers of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, an organization for which I worked as an employee more than a decade ago, has raised questions about my personal views on equal rights for all. That statement does not reflect my personal views, nor does it reflect my personal faith. I want to say clearly and unequivocally that I support marriage equality and LGBTQ rights. — See https://www.facebook.com/MayorBronin/posts/613781482144501)

Although Reverend Harold Sparrow served as the Executive Director of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston form 2002 – 2007 and apparently coordinated the group’s activities including their political efforts, he now reports that their actions on gay rights did not represent his personal beliefs.

During the same period, the organization’s President was Bishop Gilbert Thompson.

The vitriolic tone of the debate can be seen in a variety of published documents in which Bishop Thompson condemned those who sought marriage equity.

The Boston Magazine quoted Bishop Thompson, president of the Black Ministerial Alliance as preaching,

“We are standing against demonic forces that are out to destroy not only marriage, but family…We are not against any person, but certainly we stand in favor of marriage being what it actually is — the union of a man and a woman,”

Boston Magazine went on to explain;

Thompson’s success in building up Jubilee has produced leverage felt well beyond his ministry. Especially in his role as president of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, an advocacy group that claims to represent more than 20,000 congregants, he’s often in the news—inveighing against abortion and same-sex marriage…”

Thompson was also the figure quoted in the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Report saying;

“It offends me that the proponents of same-sex marriage are trying to incorporate discrimination language in their argument. As an African American, I know something about discrimination. I was born black! It was not a decision on my part.”

The report went on to quote the BMA leader as saying,

“The massive evidence from social science research shows unique benefits to society and especially to children of a wedded mother and father.”

Meanwhile, Harold Sparrow, who served as an anti-Elizabeth Warren spokesman for Republican Senator Scott Brown’s losing 2012 campaign will go before the Hartford City Council for approval for a seat on the Hartford Board of Education at a special council meeting on Monday, January 27, 2017.

The Scott campaign utilized Sparrow to mock Elizabeth Warren’s claim that she was of Native American heritage.

 “Scott Brown, throughout this campaign, has taken on an issue that I think is very derogatory to” Warren and her claims to Native American heritage, said [Boston Mayor] Menino,

Scott Brown’s campaign responded by dispatching two African-American activists


One of the activists, Harold Sparrow, former executive ­director of the Black Ministerial Alliance, said Warren, not Brown, is to blame for the prolonged focus on her ethnic roots.

“It was a credibility issue that was raised, and Elizabeth Warren has said she should have responded sooner,” said Sparrow, who has been Brown’s friend since they were teammates on the Tufts University basketball team. “If she would have responded sooner, it would have gone away. But she didn’t.”

In May 2015, the YMCA of Greater Hartford selected Harold Sparrow to become its 5th President and CEO.  He came to Connecticut from the YMCA of Greater Boston, where he served as Senior Vice President of Operations.  Sparrow joined the YMCA of Greater Boston in 2007 after leaving his position at the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston.

Breaking News – Hartford Mayor nominates anti-gay marriage leader for vacancy on the Hartford School Board

Yesterday, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin nominated Harold Sparrow, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Hartford, to serve on the Hartford Board of Education.

As the Hartford Courant explained, Bronin is now trying to persuade the Hartford City Council to hold a rush vote on Sparrow’s nomination, apparently trying to get a vote as early as this coming Monday, January 30, 2017

Harold Sparrow is new to Hartford, having been appointed President of the Hartford YMCA in the spring of 2015.  His principal experience was serving with the Boston YMCA and as Executive Director of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston from 2002 – 2007.

In support of Sparrow, Bronin was quoted as praising his nominee for his “extensive experience in organizational leadership and management.”

Bronin is either unaware or worse, intentionally overlooked, the critical role that Harold Sparrow played in opposing gay rights and marriage equality when he was working in Massachusetts.

As leader of the BMA of Greater Boston, Harold Sparrow played a leadership position in the organization’s high-profile opposition to gay rights and marriage equity.

According to the Boston Globe, Sparrow’s organization was the key signatory on an anti-gay, hateful letter dated February 7, 2004 that read,

It is with a clear conscience that the Black Ministerial Alliance adds our voice to those speaking on the subject of marriage


We believe marriage to be a unique covenant established between a man and a woman…

We acknowledge the pain and suffering of the men and women in the gay and lesbian community who are in long term relationships. However, given the most recent opinion of the Supreme Judicial Court eliminating the possibility of Civil Unions, we support the call for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman.

The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Inc.

Covering Sparrow and the Black Ministerial Alliance, the Boston Phoenix added,

“BMA does not keep its religion separate from any of its activities. Sparrow keeps a large VOTE FOR JESUS sign in his office window. When BMA has been in the news, at least in recent years, it’s usually to register the group’s strong opposition to gay marriage.”

Also in 2004, PBS (the national Public Broadcasting Service) ran a special report on Black Churches and Gay Marriage, quoting a representative of the Boston Ministerial Alliance as saying,

“It offends me that the proponents of same-sex marriage are trying to incorporate discrimination language in their argument. As an African American, I know something about discrimination. I was born black! It was not a decision on my part.”

The report went on to quote the BMA representative as saying,

“The massive evidence from social science research shows unique benefits to society and especially to children of a wedded mother and father.”

Now Mayor Bronin appears ready – intentionally or unintentionally – to bring that type of thinking to the Hartford School Board.

Hartford Charters fail to accept and educate Latinos and English Language Learners

As with Connecticut’s privately owned, but publicly funded, charter schools in Bridgeport, (See Bridgeport Charter Schools Discriminate Against Connecticut Children), the charter schools in Hartford also refuse to accept and educate students who require help learning the English language and those who need special education services.

Connecticut charter schools already collect more than $100 million in scarce public funds from the state of Connecticut, diverting money away from the real public schools that do fulfil their responsibility to accept and educate all students.

Instead of meeting their obligation to their communities, charter schools discriminate against children in need – all in an attempt to boost their test scores.

The following chart highlights how Hartford’s charter schools are failing the capital city’s children,

Hartford % English Language Learners % Special Education
Hartford Public Schools 18% 16%
Jumoke Charter School 0% 6%
Achievement First Inc. – Hartford 6% 9%


Also, just as with the charter schools in Bridgeport, charter schools institute unfair and discriminatory discipline policies designed to force out children who require additional services and attention.

For example,

Achievement First Inc. – Hartford suspends English Language Learners 66% more than Hartford public schools.

Achievement First Inc. – Hartford suspends special education students 83% more than Hartford public schools.

Hartford Mayor Bronin names Charter School Industry flack as his new mouthpiece

When Greenwich native and Malloy protégé, Luke Bronin, set his sights on becoming Hartford’s mayor last year, he promised to invest more money in Hartford’s public school system, implement new transparency and democracy in Hartford government and surround himself with a staff made up of people who understand and are from Connecticut’s capital city.

However, since taking office, Bronin has announced massive cuts and layoffs aimed at Hartford’s public schools and he has proposed unprecedented measures that would destroy local control, limit open government and undermine democracy by giving himself emperor-like status, including the authority to shred collective bargaining agreements with the City’s unionized employees.

Now, in what has now become a classic move, rather than select a Hartford resident or even someone knowledgeable about Hartford to serve as his communications director, Bronin has appointed a former charter school PR staffer and Rhode Island political operative to serve as his mouthpiece and spokesperson for the City of Hartford, all while pumping up the new guy’s salary by $15,000 over what the mayor was paying Samaia Hernandez, the Latino woman and former reporter, who held the job for the first 90 days of his tenure.

Perhaps most interesting of all, when Bronin announced the recent appointment, he misled Hartford residents and the media by failing to note that his new top aide previously worked for ConnCAN, the corporate-funded, charter school industry front group that pumped huge amounts of money into Bronin’s mayoral campaign and has spent record breaking amounts of money lobbying on behalf of Malloy’s pro-charter school, anti-teacher agenda.

As Hartford Courant columnist and blogger Kevin Rennie reports,

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin appears not to be much of a negotiator. The first-term mayor’s original spokesperson, Samaia Hernandez, lasted three months in her $80,000 a year job.  Hernandez was replaced by Democratic operative Brett Broesder, whose salary working for the Bronins is $95,000 a year.

Bronin has been struggling to explain to local residents, state legislators, and an assortment of union leaders why he should be given expanded powers to deal with public employee contracts. Someone who spent more than $170 a vote in last summer’s Democratic mayoral primary may think $15,000 is chump change. Others will disagree. Some who pay attention to identity politics will be struck by the big difference between what Bronin paid a woman to do the job and what he’s paying a man.

When announcing the appointment, Bronin’s Office wrote:

Hartford, Conn. (March 21, 2016) – Mayor Luke Bronin today announced that Brett Broesder has been named Director of Communications and New Media for the City of Hartford, Conn. In this role, Broesder will serve as the primary media contact and spokesperson for the capital city. He is replacing Samaia Hernandez, who is pursuing new opportunities.

“I’m thrilled to have Brett on our team,” said Mayor Bronin. “With his wide-ranging experience in communications and policy, he is sure to be an asset to Hartford as we right our fiscal ship and move the city toward a more prosperous future.”

Broesder joins the City of Hartford with more than a decade of communications experience. Most recently, he served as the communications director for the City of Bridgeport, Conn.

Previously, Broesder served in a vast array of senior level communications roles, including: direct mail consultant for The Baughman Company; Communications Director for the Montana Democratic Party; media relations specialist for global communications firm Hill & Knowlton, as well as Ketchum; Policy and Legislative Director for Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin; and Campaign Manager for Peter Kilmartin’s successful Rhode Island Attorney General Campaign in 2010. Broesder holds a B.A. in political science from Rhode Island College.

“I’m honored to join Mayor Bronin and his team,” said Broesder. “It’s an exciting time in the state’s capital city. I look forward to working with folks across the city to share Hartford’s story.”

While Bronin’s press release highlights – in great detail – his new spokesperson’s career going back to 2010, Mayor Bronin simply skips over the fact that Brett Broesder’s biography reveals that he served as Senior Director of Communications at the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) from December 2012 to March 2014.

In his on-line biography, Bronin’s new spokesperson brags that at ConnCAN he,

“Led the communications and marketing arms, which included developing paid and earned media campaigns resulting in over 150 key media placements, including: The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, and Hartford Courant” and “Served as lead staffer for organization’s 501(c)4, A Better Connecticut (ABC), and oversaw the paid and earned media marketing campaigns, including a $2.3 million advertising effort.”

Bronin’s latest public relations play also fails to note that while his new aide was overseeing a $2.3 million television advertising campaign in support Malloy pro-charter school plans, Bronin spent a portion of that period as Malloy’s Chief Counsel where he worked to help develop and push Malloy’s ongoing efforts to divert more than $100 million a year in scarce taxpayer funds to the privately owned and operated charter schools that later turned around and provided Bronin with a massive influx of campaign donations for his campaign to become Hartford’s mayor.

More about Bronin’s new spokesperson can be found online including from Rhode Island’s The Phoenix newspaper that in 2010 reported,

Brett Broesder – a graduate of Rhode Island College (RIC) and former president of the RIC Democrats – will serve as the Manager of Communications, Research and Public Affairs {for Pawtucket Representative and attorney general candidate Peter Kilmartin.] He will also serve as a spokesperson and media contact. Most recently Broesder has worked in Washington, D.C. as a public-affairs consultant for Hill & Knowlton and Ketchum – two of the world’s largest public-relations firms. In addition, Broesder has served on several political campaigns, including Sheldon Whitehouse for U.S. Senate and Barack Obama for President, as well as others in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

For more about Luke Bronin’s power grab read:

Hartford Council Breaks With Bronin On Finance Bill (Hartford Courant)

Union Members Crowd Monday Hearing On Hartford Finances Bill (Hartford Courant)

Hartford Delegation Won’t Back Bronin Bill As Written (Hartford Courant)

Unions Pan Hartford Mayor’s Bill To Change Financial Oversight (CTNewsjunkie)


As Malloy calls for record cuts to minority teacher programs – Robert Cotto Jr. asks – Where did Black & Latin teachers in Hartford go?

Governor Dannel Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and their administration are proposing record budget cuts to Connecticut’s Minority Teacher Incentive Program, as well as, to the state’s institutions of higher education – which include Connecticut’s teacher preparation programs.

As Connecticut faces the need for additional talented, dedicated and prepared public school teachers, Malloy and his advisers are cutting vital teacher training programs while promoting the use of inexperienced, unprepared and transient Teacher For America recruits.

Meanwhile, Robert Cotto, Jr, the Director of Urban Educational Initiatives at Trinity College and a Lecturer in the Educational Studies department highlights the very real problem facing Connecticut’s school districts as he investigates the disturbing failure to recruit and retain Latino and African-American teachers in Hartford.

In Where did Black & [email protected] teachers in Hartford go?, Robert Cotto Jr. writes;

Several months ago, former Hartford school board member Dr. Shelley Best posted a photo of herself with a handful of white teachers and an administrator in the background. Dr. Best, a Black woman, took the “selfie” photo at a district workshop about the “achievement gap”. In the caption of her Facebook post with the photo, she commented, “In a room full of folks talking about us (and the educational achievement gap) that don’t look like us … hmmmm …”

The Hartford Courant wrote a story months after the event and focused on one of the white teacher’s hurt feelings about being captured in the photo frame and Dr. Best’s protest. This led to a brief, but intense, flurry of essays about teacher diversitywhite folks missing the pointpersonal defenses, and a reprimand of Dr. Best. Looking at some basic staffing data, an important question adds to Dr. Best’s concern – where did the Black and Latino/a teachers in Hartford go?

When Dr. Shelley Best wondered where all the Black educators were during the workshop several months ago, she was on to something troubling. The Hartford Public Schools has steadily lost Black and Latino/a teachers over the last decade, while adding white teachers during the same period.








Source: CT State Department of Education, 2015

Public staffing data provided by the State Department of Education (CEDAR) shows that the Hartford Public Schools lost a substantial percentage and number of Black and Latino/a teachers from 2004-12. In 2004-05, 15% of all Hartford teachers were Latino/a and 15% were Black. In 2012-13, roughly 10% of all Hartford teachers were Latino/a and 10% Black. In other words, a net total of 155 Black and Latino teachers disappeared from HPS, while the district added 95 new white teachers. As a result, the proportion of white teachers in the whole district rose from 68% to 77% from 2004-12.

With this limited information, it’s not entirely clear why HPS has lost so many Black and Latino/a teachers. The state’s public staffing data does not tell us about the on-the-ground factors that might “push” and “pull” teachers of color into and out of the profession (Irizarry & Donaldson, 2012). The public staffing data doesn’t reveal whether these Black and Latino/a teachers in Hartford experienced layoffs, were pushed out/fired, retired, found other more lucrative or fulfilling work, or were promoted to other positions in Hartford or elsewhere.

In the case of the Hartford area schools during this period (2004-12), there were also unusual policies and factors that could have led to this steep disappearance of teachers of color. These unusual events and policies included the great recession, expanded public school choice programs in the Hartford region, and assorted neoliberal education reforms. These factors could have impacted the entry and exit of Black and Latino/a teachers from the Hartford Public Schools.

The great recession, caused by the near collapse of the banking industry, resulted in teacher layoffs/reductions in force through the capitol region. These school districts in the capitol region included 35 town-operated school districts around the City of Hartford, which is associated with the Hartford Public Schools. The largest declines in the number of teachers of all racial/ethnic groups in these districts happened from 2008-09 to 2009-10 and from 2009-10 to 2010-11.

Interestingly, the capitol region school districts never rebounded in terms of adding back lost teachers (from 2004-12), but Hartford did rebound and in a very different way. After the banking collapse, HPS added white teachers even as it continued to lose Black and Latino/a teachers. On the other hand, the other 35 capitol region districts added a smaller number of Black and Latino/a teachers (mostly the latter) even while continuing to decline in overall, particularly in the number of white teachers after the great recession. Despite adding a small number of Black and Latino/a teachers; the 35 capitol region districts’ percentage of Black and Latino/a teachers remained level from 2004-12. (See chart at: http://commons.trincoll.edu/cssp/2016/02/23/where-did-all-the-black-and-latinoa-teachers-in-hartford-go/)

As the enrollment of students in public school choice programs has increased, so has the number of teachers working in interdistrict magnet and charter schools. (See chart below) This rapid growth is one clear result of State policy increasing funds and policy supports for public school choice programs that are operated by separate, non-traditional school districts such as CREC and charter districts. In the case of magnet schools, the growth has come as a result of implementing the Sheff v. O’Neill desegregation settlement.

The Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), a regional district that operates interdistrict magnet schools, and the Hartford-area charter school districts added to their numbers of teachers in all race/ethnicity categories from 2004-12. In fact, the CREC magnet school district and Jumoke, Odyssey, and Achievement First – Hartford charter school districts more than doubled their (general education) teacher force from 2004-12. In addition to white teachers, the racially segregated Jumoke Academy and Achievement First-Hartford added several Black and Latino/a teachers over the last decade, thus increasing their combined proportion of these groups of teachers. (See chart at: http://commons.trincoll.edu/cssp/2016/02/23/where-did-all-the-black-and-latinoa-teachers-in-hartford-go/)

Over the last decade, Hartford started (and ended) programs and neoliberal policies such as school closures, staff reconstitution, principal “autonomy”, privatization, hyper-accountability, reduced economic security for teachers, preferential hiring for inexperienced and mostly white Teach for America participants, intradistrict and interdistrict school choice. Any number of these initiatives could have impacted have impacted the hiring and retention of teachers of color during these years.

Final Thoughts

At this point, and with the limited data available, it’s hard to untangle which single policy or event made the most impact. Did Black and Latino teachers in the Hartford Public Schools quit, retire, leave to other schools, or get forced out? If so, why? The short answer is that we don’t know.

The idea that some Black and Latino/a teachers left HPS (for currently unknown reasons) and took up work in other school districts in the region as HPS faced layoffs and other districts, magnets, and charters added staff is one possible explanation of where they went. The numbers invite this explanation as a possibility, but the data does not entirely confirm or explain what’s going on. We don’t have enough information yet to make a conclusion.

Combining the losses and additions of Black and Latino/a teachers for all public school districts (capital region, CREC, Hartford, charter schools), there is still a net loss of 27 Latino/a teachers and 39 Black teachers from 2004-12 within the capitol region. In other words, the Hartford Public Schools lost more Black and Latino/a teachers than were added in other local districts, including the magnet (CREC) and charter schools during this period.

Where did the Black and Latino/a teachers in Hartford go?  Hmmmm…

More of Robert Cotto Jr.’s articles can be found at: http://commons.trincoll.edu/cssp/category/blog/

Please Note:  Comment function is not presently working – trying to get it fixed ASAP

Bronin says win due to door-knocking not benefits of $1.3 million or White Privilege

Attributing his political success to his door-knocking efforts rather than the record breaking $1.3 million he raised from city and state contractors, lobbyists and donors from his hometown of Greenwich and out-of-state or the advantages of White Privilege, Luke Bronin’s dream of becoming leader of Hartford has come true.

During the campaign Bronin said he would save Hartford by reducing crime and expanding programs, all while promising not to raise taxes.  The solution, according to the political novice, was more state funding and the wealth that would come with the wave of people moving into the new luxury apartments in the City’s Downtown.

Flanked by Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Bronin claimed victory Election Night but warned residents that “there will be no easy answers.”

In his successful effort to unseat one of the nation’s highest ranking Puerto Rican Mayors, Luke Bronin spent the primary attacking Pedro Segarra for not getting enough money from the Malloy administration, raising taxes and supporting the controversial Dunkin Donuts Baseball Stadium that is being constructed as part of Hartford’s DONO Development.

With his primary victory in hand,  Bronin flip-flopped on the Stadium issue taking tens of thousands of dollars from the Stadium’s developers while remaining quiet about the developers failure to fulfill their contractual obligation to begin construction on the project’s promised grocery store and other elements of Phase II (Parcel E).

As Bronin’s campaign finance reports revealed, not only did he break the record for the most money spent on a mayoral campaign in state history but he funded his political aspirations with campaign donations from nearly 70 city contractors, more than 80 registered state lobbyists and dozens of state contractors.  In the process of raising and reporting those contributions, Bronin and his campaign violated a number of provisions of Connecticut Campaign Finance law, a move that will undoubtedly result in a full-scale investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Of particular note is that while pledging to support Hartford’s Public Schools, Bronin relied heavily on donations from the Charter School and Corporate Education Reform Industry, collecting huge amounts of money from charter school advocates and Greenwich residents Jonathan Sackler and Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II, as well as employees, board members and lobbyists for Connecticut’s charter schools.

Bronin will take office in January 2016.

Special Meeting to approve Stadium Developer’s changes suddenly canceled

Lo and Behold, the not quite time for prime-time players have canceled the Special Meeting of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission that was scheduled for tomorrow – Wednesday, November 4, 2015.

In recent weeks, Luke Bronin has taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the developers of the Hartford Dunkin Donuts Stadium and the DONO Hartford Development Project.

Sara Bronin, Luke Bronin’s spouse, serves as the Chair of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission and had announced that the Hartford PZC would be holding a Special Meeting to vote on the developers request to get a major waiver from their contract, including permission to push off the construction of the promised grocery store that they promised would be under construction by now.

According to Hartford City Hall the meeting has been canceled, but that hardly solves the underlying problem.

Phase II (Parcel E) including the grocery store;

As reported previously, the contract between the City of Hartford and the developers of the Dunkin Donut Baseball Stadium and the entire DONO Downtown North Development Project required that construction on Phase II (Parcel E), which includes the desperately needed north-end grocery store, was to begin no later than November 1, 2015.

However, the developers failed to fulfill that responsibility and now want permission from the City of Hartford to delay and modify the construction plan related to Phase II (Parcel E).

To get that change the developers need Sara Bronin and her committee have to give them permission to delay Phase II and make major changes to the contract that they had signed.

As reported in a Wait, What? post on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 entitled, Bronin reports another $174,000 collected with seven days to go until Election Day, Bronin’s latest campaign finance report that revealed that he had raised another $11,750 from the developers of Hartford’s new Dunkin Donuts Yard Goats Baseball Stadium and the DONO Project.

The latest bundle of stadium money comes in addition to the thousands of dollars Bronin had already collected from those whose who are directly benefiting financially from the stadium contract.  (See: And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium)

Having sharply criticized the stadium project earlier in the campaign, Bronin waited until after the reporting deadline for the September 16, 2015 Democratic primary to start collecting a large amount of campaign money from the DONO project contractors.

In recent weeks, Luke Bronin has raised tens of thousands of dollars from a number of the DONO contractors including Centerplan Development, Centerplan Construction Company, JCJ Architecture, Freeman Companies, BETA, McDowell Jewett and Greenskies Renewable Energy.

While the developers have sought to trivialize their change in plans, their failure to follow through on their commitments concerning Phase II has a profound impact on the project and the credibility of those behind the entire Hartford Downtown North Development scheme.

The Hartford Courant reported on importance of Phase II this past summer in an article entitled, Developers To Break Ground On Downtown North Grocery Store In October,

City officials and developers of the Downtown North project, which includes retail, housing and a baseball stadium, said Wednesday that they will break ground on a parcel that includes a grocery store by late October.

Yves-Georges A. Joseph II, vice president of development for Centerplan, said the developers don’t yet have a supermarket operator on board, but they are in conversations with operators.

Joseph, who attended a forum on the Downtown North project Wednesday at the city’s public library, said the deadline to begin construction is Nov. 1.

The area, known as Parcel E, is the first phase of housing and retail in the project. The parcel, which would include 328 apartments, a grocery store, a fitness center, other shops and parking, would be located across Main Street from a 9,000-capacity minor league baseball stadium.

Joseph said Wednesday that if developers don’t reach a deal with a supermarket operator, “we as an organization will own or operate a supermarket.”

The Hartford Courant’s June 2015 story ended with,

Panelists at Wednesday’s forum, sponsored by Hartford 2000, expressed skepticism about the developer’s ability to bring in a supermarket.

Denise Best, a North End activist, said many promises have been made and broken by city leadership.

October has come and gone and there is no sign of any construction related to the grocery store, or the associated housing, fitness center, shops and parking.

The developers now want retroactive permission to delay and modify Phase II of the project.

With the cancelation of tomorrow’s Special Meeting of the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the question now becomes what will the Bronins do about their conflict of interest regarding the Stadium and the entire DONO project.

Campaign Finance Violations will follow Bronin (Win or Lose)

Call it Pay-to-Play or Play and Pay…

Greenwich native and Hartford mayoral wannabee Luke Bronin has not only run the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history, but his campaign that has made a mockery of Connecticut’s Campaign Finance Laws.

Win or lose, Luke Bronin will be facing the State Elections Enforcement Commission to address his significant and far-reaching violations of the State’s laws about who can donate and how campaign donation’s must be reported.

As part of his unprecedented effort to buy the Hartford Mayor’s Office, Bronin and his political operation violated numerous provisions of the Connecticut’s election laws including the failure to properly disclose contributions from lobbyists and from companies and individuals who have contracts with the City of Hartford.

As Bronin’s campaign finance reports indicate, his campaign failed to accurately identify more than 80 percent of the lobbyists who donated to his campaign and well over 100 individuals who have contracts with the City of Hartford.

The reports suggest that Bonin and his campaign have also violated even more significant provisions of the law.

Any issues that have not already been raised in complaints to the State Elections Enforcement Commission will be included in a wrap-up complaint that will be filed with the state authority in the next couple of days.

Interestingly, while the breadth of campaign violations are obvious, the Hartford Court chose not to cover the issue at all.

The following are some of the Wait, What? posts about Bronin’s campaign, others can be found on the Blog;

Do I hear $170 a vote? Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to the man from Greenwich

Billionaires for Bronin

Bronin reports another $174,000 collected with seven days to go until Election Day

Once home to WFSB Channel 3 – the upscale apartment project is now a source of campaign donations for Luke Bronin.

And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium

Luke Bronin and his campaign know – Campaign Donation Limits are for Losers

Luke Bronin the “outsider” is looking more and more like an “insider” – the Carlos Lopez Story

Outside money turns Hartford Democratic Town Committee into a Luke Bronin slush fund