Bridgeport, Democratic Party, Democratic State Central Committee, Kenneth Moales, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Nancy DiNardo, Nancy Wyman Bridgeport, Democratic State Central Committee, Education Reform, Kenneth Moales Jr., Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Nancy DiNardo
Moments ago, Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo sent out another email to party activists seeking donations for the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee. DiNardo asks, “Can you be a part of this and chip in $5 today?
But DiNardo and the Democratic Party have yet to address the important issue that has been raised again and again.
This past fall, Governor Malloy, Nancy DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee misdirected $40,000 from the Democratic Party’s coffers to pay for almost all the expenses of Mayor Bill Finch’s pro-corporate education reform slate of candidates for the Bridgeport Board of Education.
The endorsed slate lost badly to a pro-public education slate of candidates.
The Democratic challenge slate went on to win the election and with the help of the Working Families Party members unseated Finch’s campaign treasurer, Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr. last night as the Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education, replacing the disgraced pastor with a pro-public education advocate named Sauda Baraka.
Instead of staying out of this critically important Democratic Primary, the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee used State Party funds to pay for more than 90% of the money spent to support the losing, corporate education reform oriented slate.
Since Malloy was elected governor, hundreds of Connecticut residents have donated to the Connecticut Democratic Party because they believed Governor Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Wyman and Democratic Chair Nancy DiNardo when they wrote letters and emails explaining that the donations would be used to defeat Republican candidates.
To this day it still isn’t clear whether the 72 members of the Democratic State Central Committee were properly informed or even approved of the decision to re-direct $40,000 in scarce campaign resources to a slate of candidates that was committed to undermining Connecticut’s teachers, teacher unions and the children and parents of Bridgeport.
It is truly the height of arrogance that Malloy and the Democratic Party leadership continue to send out fundraising requests yet fail to explain how it is possible that $40,000 in donations to the Connecticut Democratic Party were not used to beat Republicans but were used to try and beat pro-education Democrats.
Governor Malloy and Chairman DiNardo owe the Democrats of Connecticut an explanation and they deserve it now.
Just read today’s email and ask yourself – is it clear that they money being raised my be used to fight fellow pro-public education Democrats?
The email reads;
We need to finish the year strong.
Can you be a part of this and chip in $5 today?
Thank you for your help,
P.S.: Can you forward this email to 3 friends who might also be interested in contributing?
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jonathan Harris <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 3:46 PM
Subject: Another damn CDP fundraising email?
To: Nancy DiNardo <[email protected]>
Here at the Connecticut Democratic Party, like at most political organizations, we ask for money because we need it. We need the money to create the great graphics you love to share on Facebook and Twitter, to provide trainings on how to use the latest software and to engage voters.
So I’m going to ask you for money today. And probably next week. Just like every other political entity who has managed to get your email address – because it’s that damn important.
Can you please contribute $5 today?
It won’t make the emails stop, but it will make an impact on Connecticut’s future. In 2012, if President Obama had not raised more than $1 billion, we might very well be asking you to contribute so we can battle against the agenda of President Mitt Romney.
In the coming months, our congressmen and congresswomen are going to have a fight on their hands. And I am not about to let them fight alone.
Do you live in the 5th congressional district? Contribute $5. Do you live in the 3rd? Contribute $3.
I’m proud of the work that my team has done and the money we have raised — because I know that it is going to help us beat the Tea Party Republicans and their multimillion-dollar super PACs in 2014.
Jonathan A. Harris
Bridgeport, CT Post, Kenneth Moales, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch Bridgeport, Kenneth Moales Jr., Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Sauda Baraka
Tonight, the Bridgeport Board of Education has selected a new chairperson for the Bridgeport Board of Education.
Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr., corporate education reform champion, Mayor Bill Finch campaign treasurer and Governor Malloy ally has proven yet again why he is incapable of serving as a representative of the people of Bridgeport.
As if to prove the point, Moales lashed out at the Connecticut Post in one last classless act of defiance.
The full story can be found in a Connecticut Post article written by Brian Lockhart.
In an article entitled, “Rev. Moales refuses Post’s ? until reporter who visited home says sorry” Lockhart writes;
“As the outgoing chairman of Bridgeport’s Board of Education, Kenneth Moales Jr. is a high-profile public official.
That means he should expect to be approached by members of the press by phone, email and, depending on the circumstances, perhaps at work or even at home. Newspaper editors demand it.
“Reporters knock on doors all the time,” said Richard Hanley, an associate professor of journalism and director of the graduate journalism program at Quinnipiac University.
Until recently Moales had an outstanding state police warrant hanging over his head.
Before publishing that late October story, Hearst Connecticut Newspapers/The Connecticut Post attempted to contact Moales by phone, with no success. A reporter did speak by phone to his wife and asked her to pass along a message to her husband.
Then later in the day reporters – in an effort to give Moales every opportunity to explain the warrant – tried his office in the early evening and, finally, knocked on the front door of his home around 7 p.m.
From behind their closed front door Moales’ angry wife told a reporter to go away. The reporter calmly asked if her husband had received the message to contact the newspaper and she said he had. The reporter left without incident.
That was Oct. 21. Since then Moales – who because of a shift in power on the school board will chair his final meeting Dec. 9 – has refused to respond to any questions from Hearst until the newspaper provides him the identity of the journalist who visited his home and also an apology.
Moales is also Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer.
Here are a few of Moales’ emails to reporter Linda Lambeck, who covers education. They are copied below as sent, errors included, with any clarifications in parenthesis:
From Friday, Nov. 1: “I am still waiting for an apology from the CT Post for attacking my wife at the home!!!”and “You (Lambeck) are a very good reporter…and I am certain that you know who attacked my wife at our private residence! Send me their name and contact information and have the CT Post send my wife and family an apology for such disrespectful behavior and harrassment at our place of residence! Until then…NO COMMENT!!!
From Monday, Dec. 9: “I AM STILL WAITING FOR AN APOLOGY TO MY WIFE FROM THE IDIOT THAT RAIDED MY HOUSE AT NIGHT TO!!!
In response to the above email Lambeck wrote back: “If someone ‘raided’ your house you should have called the police. Someone knocked on your door after dark. Big difference.”
Moales responded: “If it is not such a big des (deal) how about you provide me with the man’s name and full address and I will make certain to send a stranger to his door!!! And while you are at it, how about you give me your address as well I am certain there are a few people that would love to come knock at your door to ask you a few questions…since your colleague’s actions were so appropriate please forward me the aforementioned addresses!!! YOU KNOW HE WAS WRONG & INAPPROPRIATE!”
“Wow,” said Hanley when read Moales’ emails. “As a public figure his level of immaturity is startling … Given the fact he’s an official representing that town, that invites public scrutiny, which is the role of the press. He ought to understand that and ought not to be playing what amounts to an email war against a news organization … The reporter’s action is to benefit him to give him an opportunity to comment on something, and he in turn has inflamed the situation.”
Hanley noted that Moales has every right to ask the press not to return to his home.
“It’s within the rights of public officials to tell people to get off their lawn, whether they’re media or not,” Hanley said. “And it’s perfectly within his right to do that. But it seems to have escalated beyond a simple request, and that’s what I find startling. Just a simple, ‘Please don’t come to my house ever again’ is sufficient. You don’t need to get into that sort of tirade in the email.”
Hanley added reporters generally don’t enjoy visiting someone’s residence unannounced.
“No journalist I know is interested in surprising someone at home, interrupting dinner or family time,” Hanley said. “But when you need a comment on a story of this kind (an arrest warrant for a public official), you need a comment.”
Moales, whose church and all its properties, including Moales’ home and automobiles, are presently facing final foreclosure proceedings. He is a sad reminder of the sense of entitlement that surrounds some of those who hold political positions in the country today.
You can read the full CT Post article at: http://blog.ctnews.com/connecticutpostings/2013/12/09/rev-moales-refuses-posts-until-reporter-who-visited-home-says-sorry/
Bridgeport, Democratic Party, Democratic State Central Committee, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Nancy DiNardo Bridgeport, Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee, Democratic Party, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Nancy DiNardo
Over the last few months the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee has been raising money that purportedly would be used to help Democratic candidates beat Republican candidates.
But as Wait, What? readers know from earlier posts, Governor Malloy, Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee syphoned over more than $37,000 in a failed attempt to beat back a Democratic challenge slate in Bridgeport that did not support Paul Vallas or Governor Malloy and Mayor Bill Finch’s corporate education reform agenda.
Rather than use contributions to the State Party as promised, DiNardo and/or the Democratic State Central Committee authorized the expenditure of nearly forty thousand dollars in an effort to tip the scales in favor of Mayor Finch’s Democratic slate.
In the process the Connecticut Democratic Party also appears to have violated a number of campaign finance laws.
Months after the issue came to light, neither Governor Malloy, Chair DiNardo nor the State Central Committee have explained how it is possible that donations raised to help Democrats beat Republicans was spent instead on Democrats trying to beat Democrats.
According to the party rules, “the Democratic State Central Committee is the governing body of the Connecticut Democratic Party between conventions. It is authorized and empowered to take such action and render such decisions as may be necessary to carry out fully and adequately the decisions and instructions of the convention and to promote the aims and principles of the Democratic Party at the national, state and local levels…Members of the Democratic State Central Committee shall work to promote harmony among all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, language, religion or sexual orientation.”
The Democratic State Central Committee is made up of two representatives, one man and one woman, elected from each senatorial district in the state for a term of two year.
In addition to its annual Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey Dinner that raises significant funds, the Connecticut Democratic State Party raises small contributions.
In recent months you may have received emails reading:
“We have to fight back with help from our grassroots donors like you. While you’re getting ready for Black Friday, don’t forget to add the Connecticut Democratic Party to your to-do list. Can you chip in $10 before Black Friday? Together, we can continue to support our candidates who stand up for Connecticut’s middle class.”
Or “Our children are vitally important to Connecticut’s future. That’s why Connecticut Democrats are standing behind programs and services that keep kids happy, healthy and on the path to success. With your support, we can keep making progress. Will you invest $10 in Connecticut’s kids? “
Or one from Governor Malloy that read, “By making a minimum $5 contribution right now, you allow the Party to help campaigns organize more efficiently, use campaign tools more strategically and contact even more voters between now and Election Day.”
But despite the constant claims that donations would be used to beat Republicans, recent campaign finance reports reveal that Governor Malloy, Chair Nancy DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee diverted significant amounts of money to try and influence the Democratic candidate selection process for Bridgeport’s recent board of education primary and election.
According to reports filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission;
The Democratic State Central Committee gave the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee $20,000 to pay for canvassers the day before the Democratic Primary. Those canvassers were used to turn out Democrats to vote for the pro-Finch Democratic slate and against the anti-Paul Vallas, pro-public education challenge slate of Democrats.
The Democratic State Central Committee also paid for all three direct mail pieces that were sent out in support of the pro-Finch endorsed Democratic slate.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission report reveals that the Connecticut Democratic Party paid for the following expenses related to the Pro-Finch Democratic slate’s losing campaign against the challenge Democratic slate:
- $9,471.44 Direct Mail created by March3Media, Portland, Maine
- $3,911.21 Direct Mail created by March3Media, Portland, Maine
- $4,735.72 Direct Mail created by March3Media, Portland, Maine
In addition, the Connecticut Democratic Party also made the following expenditures that may or may not have been related to the Democratic Primary. If they were related, but not properly reported, that would be yet another campaign finance violation.
- $7,500 Global Strategies, Inc. (Roy Occhiogrosso)
- $5,000 Global Strategies, Inc. (Roy Occhiogrosso)
- $1,000 Global Strategies, Inc. (Roy Occhiogrosso)
Missing completely from the Democratic State Central Committee’s campaign finance report is the expenditure for a public opinion poll that was done by or on behalf of the Bridgeport Democratic Party.
And equally serious is the lack of any reported expenditure for Ohlsen research, a Democratic opposition research company from Oregon that was hired to dig up dirt about the members of the Democratic challenge slate and their supporters. The work was definitely done, however, since information about members of the challenge slate and their supporters were secretly distributed to reporters in the days leading up to the primary and the election… although reporters didn’t print any of that information at the time. It is not clear who paid for Ohlsen Research’s contract but the company has worked closely with Global Strategies Inc. in the past.
As the dust settles what is clear is that that Connecticut Democratic Party paid for nearly all of the expenses incurred by the Pro-Finch Democratic slate and that the Connecticut Democratic Party appears to have violated state law by failing to report expenditures for postage, polling and opposition research.
What isn’t clear is if the funds were authorized and why donors to the Connecticut Democratic Party haven’t been told that their contributions were immorally and unethically used in an expensive, but losing effort to stop a pro-public education slate of Democrats.
Neither Governor Malloy nor Democratic State Chairman Nancy DiNardo has explained why or how they diverted tens of thousands of dollars in state party funds to support the Finch candidates in the Bridgeport Democratic Primary.
In fact, it is not even clear whether the Democratic State Central Committee even authorized the unprecedented expenditure of Party funds or if Malloy and DiNardo simply took the Party’s money to spend as they pleased.
It is time for Malloy, DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee to come clean.
Ben Barnes (OPM Secretary), Bridgeport, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, State Budget, Stefan Pryor Ben Barnes, Bridgeport, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, State Budget, Stefan Pryor
“Aware that the city school board was prepared Monday to pass a resolution demanding the funds, Barnes said he felt the time was right to make the deal.” – CT Post 11/26/13
You heard him right… “The time was right to make the deal.”
The deal being that the City of Bridgeport would get a giant pass on having to allocate the legally required minimum funding that Connecticut towns must make in order to get state education funds.
The deal being between Governor Malloy and Mayor Bill Finch – WITHOUT THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE BRIDGEPORT BOARD OF EDUCATION – the elected officials who are legally responsible for running Bridgeport’s School and who had already adopted a budget based on getting the additional $3.3 million that the City of Bridgeport won’t have to provide.
Just last year, when Bridgeport was facing a $3.5 million budget deficit in its school budget, Malloy, with the approval of the Connecticut General Assembly, gave Bridgeport a $3.5 million “forgivable loan.”
As a condition for getting the money, Bridgeport had to agree to allow Malloy’s Commissioner of Education to approve any replacement for Paul Vallas, who was serving as Bridgeport’s Acting Superintendent at the time.
Now one year later another deal pops up, this time allowing Bridgeport to renege on its legal responsibility to provide its local schools with the minimum budget allocation of local taxpayer funds.
In what will certainly go down as one of the more absurd political statements of the year, the Connecticut Post reported today that “Benjamin Barnes, secretary of the state Office of Policy and Management, who helped broker a budget deal reached over the weekend, said he doesn’t want this to be an annual bailout program for Bridgeport, and is looking for assurances the city will finally fully fund its Minimum Budget Requirement going forward.”
According to the Connecticut Post article, Mayor Bill Finch and the City of Bridgeport’s local contribution for their schools should be $3.3 million higher than what it has actually allocated for this year.
Rather than require that Bridgeport fulfill its legal responsibility, as all other towns must do, Governor Malloy is proposing a deal to “rectify the problem” by allowing about $1.2 million worth of in-kind services to the school board, allow the city to shave $1.1 million off the school board’s workers’ compensation contribution and have the state make an additional $1.2 million contribution to the city by the end of the fiscal year.
While neither the Malloy administration nor Mayor Finch consulted with the Bridgeport Board of Education, their “deal” will actually create an immediate budget deficit in this year’s Bridgeport school budget, a budget deficit that require mid-year cuts to school programs.
As reported in the Connecticut Post, at last night’s Bridgeport Board of Education meeting, the Bridgeport Board of Education adopted a resolution, on a vote of 6 -1, to demand the city come into full compliance with the Minimum Budget Requirement law.
But the fact is that the Malloy/Finch deal with leave the Bridgeport Board of Education twisting slowly in the wind.
And as to the long-held notion that it is the Legislative Branch of Government that approves the state budget and only the Legislative Branch that can allocate additional funding for Bridgeport, Ben Barnes, who served as Bridgeport’s interim director of finance before he became Malloy’s Budget Chief, told the Connecticut Post that “he had some contact with the Legislature’s appropriations committee chairs over the matter, but believes the administration has broad authority within existing education reform dollars to make the additional payment to Bridgeport…“
Media requests from Wait,What? to the Governor’s Office, the Education Commissioner’s Office and the Office of Policy and Management asking for what statutory authority Barnes believes gives him the ability to give Bridgeport another $1.2 million in education funding without legislative approval have gone unanswered.
As if the Malloy/Finch deal wasn’t already difficult enough for the dozens of other Connecticut communities that are also suffering from inadequate funding to hear about, the Malloy administration managed to rub additional salt in the wound via a letter Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education sent to Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch.
Pryor calls the Malloy/Finch deal less than ideal but adds that it is “sufficient to allow all parties to turn their attention from past conflicts to our aspirations for the future.”
Will allow all parties to turn their attention from past conflicts to our aspirations for the future?
By allocating state money without legislative approval, leaving the Bridgeport Board of Education with a new deficit for this school year and blowing off the financial problems faced by Connecticut’s other communities.
Yup, file this one under: The Malloy administration’s approach to financial planning in 2013
You can read the full Connecticut Post article here: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/City-has-a-deal-but-board-not-satisfied-5011160.php
Bridgeport, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor Paul Vallas
Hey, it’s not like we didn’t warn them…
Governor Pat Quinn became Illinois’ chief elected official with a very narrow victory. Arguably he won, in no small part, thanks too strong support from Illinois teachers.
When Quinn picked Paul Vallas to be his running-mate, I told members of the Illinois media that considering what he did in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Bridgeport, Vallas would be a hard sell and could easily lose Quinn a lot of support from teachers, retired teachers and other public employees.
As an example of Vallas’ inability to speak the truth when it came to education issues I pointed reporters to Vallas’ recent comment that Bridgeport’s teacher contract was the “worst he’d ever seen” when, in fact, it is a very balanced contract.
Well the Illinois media is starting to take a closer look at Paul Vallas’ record…and one of the first things they found was the sweetheart deal The Vallas Group “won” last year from the Illinois Department of Education. Wait What? readers may recall: NEWS FLASH: “Education Reform is a Victory for the Children” (as Bridgeport’s Paul Vallas Nails $1 million “education reform” contract from Illinois).
As the Chicago Sun Times reported this past weekend,
“Since landing work outside Illinois more than a decade ago, former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas hasn’t just focused on leading troubled school systems in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Bridgeport, Conn.
Last summer, in a little-publicized $311,000 consulting deal with the Illinois State Board of Education, Gov. Pat Quinn’s newly named running mate offered a financial blueprint to turn around the nearly bankrupt North Chicago school district.
Teachers weren’t happy.
To avert insolvency in North Chicago Community Unit District 187 by 2015, Vallas recommended closing four of the district’s nine schools and laying off 130 teachers and staff — 39 percent of the district’s workforce.
Vallas, a longtime backer of charter schools, also singled out the financial drain caused by the lone charter school in District 187 but didn’t offer strategies in the report to address what he said ‘inequitably amounts to a heavy subsidy at the expense of the rest of the district.’”
In response to the Vallas report, the Illinois Federation of Teachers wrote:
“’This is another typical stop on the education-reform road show. These so-called experts spend very little time on the ground and then suggest firing half the staff, closing half the schools, and expect, somehow, to see improvements,’ said Aviva Bowen, a spokeswoman for the teachers union.
‘Teachers in North Chicago are struggling to serve students with scarce resources. Funding should go into the classrooms, not the pockets of out-of-state consultants,’ she said.”
The story of the North Chicago School System is a familiar one for those who have watched Vallas’ path of destruction over the past couple of decades.
According to the article, North Chicago Schools have faced,
“…extreme financial difficulties; been poorly managed; faced declining enrollment, and seen its state and federal funding drop. Its enrollment of 3,814 students is heavily Hispanic and African American, with 78 percent of students described as low-income.
District 187, which has repeatedly borrowed to fund its operating expenditures, contemplated dissolution in the early 1990s and is one of two school districts in Illinois now overseen by the State Board of Education.
In 2011, the district’s former school board president, Gloria Harper, and its one-time transportation director, Alice Sherrod, were charged in an $800,000 kickback scheme tied to student-busing contracts.”
So what did the Illinois State Board of Education do?
The State hired The Vallas Group to go in and develop a turnaround plan.
As the Chicago paper now reports, “Given the financial and ethical messes, state School Supt. Christopher Koch said there was genuine value in dealing with Vallas, who was to be paid $1,200 a day for work he personally performed under terms of the contract.
‘On balance, it’s definitely well-written, informative, well-done and credible in the recommendations, and I think you’ll see them implemented over the years,’ Koch said of Vallas’ report.”
The paper went on to explain what we already knew, that “Even though the Vallas Group was not the lowest bidder, it was chosen over competitors based on higher technical scores and Vallas’ experience as a turnaround expert in other school systems. State Board Chairman Gery Chico, who once was Chicago’s school board chairman, brought on Vallas to head the city schools during the 1990s.
‘They had experience doing this in other places,’ Koch said. ‘We felt at the time, they were the best to do the work, and I think they had some sound recommendations.’”
Paul Vallas, collecting $1,200 a day from the taxpayers of Illinois while still collecting $900 a day from the taxpayers of Bridgeport and Connecticut.
For some fun reading, check out the full Chicago Sun-Times story at: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/23976994-418/vallas-cure-for-n-chicago-schools-mass-layoffs-riles-teachers-union.html
The earlier Wait What story can be found here: http://jonathanpelto.com/2012/05/15/news-flash-education-reform-is-a-victory-for-the-children-as-bridgeports-paul-vallas-nails-1-million-education-reform-contract-from-illinois/
Ben Barnes (OPM Secretary), Bridgeport, Education Funding, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, School Funding/ECS, Stefan Pryor Bridgeport, Education Funding, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor
Paul Vallas likes to brag that he “balanced” Bridgeport’s school budget during the two years he ran Bridgeport’s schools.
Mayor Bill Finch likes to brag that he is making a huge “investment” in Bridgeport schools.
Every time Paul Vallas speaks about his budget success he fails to mention that he didn’t actually balance last year’s Bridgeport School Budget, the taxpayers of Connecticut did.
When Bridgeport’s Education budget was still facing a $3.4 million deficit, Governor Malloy proposed, and the legislature adopted special language providing Bridgeport with a $3.4 million “forgivable” loan.
And what did Connecticut taxpayer’s get in return if the loan was “forgivable”?
If Paul Vallas left his job as Bridgeport’s superintendent of schools – which he is now doing – Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, would be responsible for “approving” Vallas’ successor. The wording is actually, “As a condition of making such loan under this section, the commissioner shall require the selection of a superintendent of schools or chief financial officer of the Bridgeport school district from a pool of up to three candidates approved by the commissioner.”
Vallas, Finch, Malloy and Pryor seem to forget that the “deal” is forever preserved in Public Act No. 12-1 of the June 12 Special Session (see complete language below).
And now, despite his bragging about his massive investment in Bridgeport’s schools, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch has now cut a secret deal with the Malloy Administration that will allow Bridgeport to take a pass on the law that requires Connecticut communities to maintain a minimum contribution to their local school budget in order to qualify for state funds.
When Mayor Finch presented this year’s Bridgeport City Budget he announced, “Thanks to the actions of my administration and the City Council, we are working more closely with the Board of Education to provide better educational opportunities for our children than ever before.”
But now, the secret deal he has cut with Governor Malloy’s operation means the City of Bridgeport DOES NOT HAVE TO PROVIDE their schools with $3,281,703 that would otherwise have been required under Connecticut law.
You can read about the new Finch/Malloy Bridgeport deal in yesterday’s Wait, What? post: Secret Deal for Malloy Political ally turns Education Funding Formula into a joke.
So Vallas didn’t balance the school budget last year, Connecticut taxpayer’s picked up the cost of the $3.4 million deficit.
And this year, a new deal between Malloy and Finch will mean that Bridgeport is excused from having to put $3.2 million into their school budget.
But hey, at least Malloy’s Commissioner of Education gets to require that the selection of a Bridgeport superintendent of schools is from “a pool of up to three candidates approved by the commissioner.”
Here is the language of Section 289 of Public Act No. 12-1 of the June 12 Special Session.
Sec. 289. (Effective July 1, 2012) (a) The sum of $ 2,300,000 appropriated in section 67 of public act 11-61 to the Department of Education, for Personal Services, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, shall not lapse on June 30, 2012, and such funds shall continue to be available for the purpose of funding a loan to the city of Bridgeport to be included in the budgeted appropriation for education for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, for the city of Bridgeport during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.
(b) The sum of $ 700,000 appropriated in section 67 of public act 11-61 to the Department of Education, for Sheff Settlement, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, shall not lapse on June 30, 2012, and such funds shall continue to be available for the purpose of funding a loan to the city of Bridgeport to be included in the budgeted appropriation for education for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, for the city of Bridgeport during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.
(c) The sum of $ 500,000 appropriated in section 67 of public act 11-61 to the Department of Education, for OPEN Choice Program, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, shall not lapse on June 30, 2012, and such funds shall continue to be available for the purpose of funding a loan to the city of Bridgeport to be included in the budgeted appropriation for education for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, for the city of Bridgeport during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.
(d) The Commissioner of Education may, upon approval by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, provide a loan of up to three million five hundred thousand dollars to the city of Bridgeport for the purposes of inclusion in the budgeted appropriation of education for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, to cover education expenditures incurred during such fiscal year. As a condition of making such loan under this section, the commissioner (1) shall require the selection of a superintendent of schools or chief financial officer of the Bridgeport school district from a pool of up to three candidates approved by the commissioner, and (2) may require additional process or outcome targets and objectives to be included in the alliance district plan submitted by the board of education pursuant to section 34 of public act 12-116. The city of Bridgeport shall repay such loan not later than June 30, 2015. The commissioner may permit the city of Bridgeport to repay such loan by reducing the equalization aid grant received pursuant to section 10-262h of the general statutes, as amended by this act, in each fiscal year of such repayment. The commissioner may, upon approval from the secretary, forgive all or a portion of such loan if the city of Bridgeport has complied with the conditions of such loan and the commissioner has approved the alliance district plan submitted by the board of education pursuant to section 34 of public act 12-116.
Bridgeport, Campaign Finance, Corporate Welfare, Education Funding, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Hartford, Malloy, Matt Poland, Mayor Bill Finch, Mayor Pedro Segarra, Paul Vallas, Sheff v. O'Neill, Stefan Pryor, Steve Perry Capital Preparatory Magnet School Bridgeport, Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Hartford, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Mayor Pedro Segarra, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor, Steve Perry
Connecticut and American Politics:
Will Rogers, the “unequal distribution of the money” and the elections of 2014 and 2016
Meanwhile…..John Rowland? No Dannel Malloy
Malloy continues to cash in on Education Reform initiative (corrected version)
Bridgeport: Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas:
UPDATED: Secret Deal for Malloy Political ally turns Education Funding Formula into a joke
Oh and in case you missed it: Vallas lawyer’s gratuitous attack on those who sued Vallas
Hartford: Steve Perry, Capital Prep and the move to re-vote the secret “Sheff deal”
Hartford Board of Education schedule re-vote for Monday (Capital Prep deal not part of vote yet)
A Model to Replicate? (A must read by Sarah Darer Littman)
Capital Prep Steve Perry’s shocking record of failure on student bullying
WNPR’s Dankosky covers Htfd BOE Chairman Poland’s call for investigation of Principal Steve Perry
Ben Barnes (OPM Secretary), Bridgeport, Education Funding, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor Ben Barnes, Bridgeport, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor
Note Correction about Bridgeport Board of Education Agenda Item:
Apparently without the approval of the State Board of Education or the approval of the Connecticut General Assembly, the Malloy administration is planning to provide Malloy ally, Mayor Bill Finch, with a special deal so that he doesn’t have to have the City Bridgeport meet the state law concerning their minimum budget expenditures for local education. The law is called the Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR)
Municipal leaders and taxpayers across Connecticut are well aware of the fact that in order for a community to receive state education funds they must provide a minimum level of local funding.
In that way, communities must uphold their responsibility to provide resources for local public schools.
The requirement to meet the Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR) has forced local officials in some communities to raise property taxes on multiple occasions.
But according to late breaking news, Governor Malloy, his budget director and his Commissioner of Education have come up with a unknown mechanism to try and let Bridgeport off-the-hook for providing their schools with sufficient local funding.
What makes the whole situation even stranger is that details are being released by the Mayor of Bridgeport on a Sunday and not by Malloy, the Office of Policy and Management or the State Department of Education.
The Bridgeport Board of Education is scheduled to vote late tomorrow – Monday – November 25, 2013 on an agenda item entitled “Approval of Resolution and Letter Regarding Minimum Budget Requirement, 2013-14.” The AGENDA ITEM IS NOT A MOTION to support Finch’s plan but exactly the opposite. It is a motion requesting the City of Bridgeport ALLOCATE the required funds to balance the school budget and meet the Minimum Budget Requirement. Finch’s move is actually meant to undermine the Board of Education’s expected action tomorrow.
Instead of waiting until tomorrow, the Bridgeport Mayor’s Office put out a Sunday press release outlining SOME of the details about the deal between Finch and the Malloy Administration.
But the information released to date fails to indicate how the plan could proceed without the approval of the State Board of Education or the General Assembly, the two entities with the authority to make education policy in the State.
According to a new headline the blog “Only in Bridgeport,” Finch Announces Agreement With State To Resolve Education Funding.”
The blog post adds,
“Mayor Bill Finch on Sunday issued a news release informing that the State Department of Education and the city have reached a resolution for the city to comply with the mandated Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR). News release from Finch follows that also includes a joint letter to the city from State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and state budget director Benjamin Barnes who worked as chief financial officer of Bridgeport schools before Governor Dan Malloy appointed him secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.
The State Department of Education and the City of Bridgeport have agreed on Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR) terms. The resolution of the MBR is as follows:
*The state recognized the level of effort made in $1.2 million worth of tangible, in-kind services to the Bridgeport Board of Education and is crediting that amount toward the FY2013-14 MBR compliance amount;
*The City also will make an additional $1.1 million contribution to the Board of Education in the form of a reduction in the Board’s required contribution for Worker’s Compensation indemnity payments for non-certified staff; and,
*The State will make an additional $1.2 million contribution to the City by the end of the fiscal year for the purpose of further supporting the Bridgeport Public Schools.
The blog post also include the “full text of the letter received by the City of Bridgeport from the State Department of Education and the Office of Policy and Management follows”
The letter from Malloy’s Budget Director and Education Commissioner reads as follows:
Dear Mayor Finch:
Thank you for your ongoing engagement with us regarding the City’s contribution to the Bridgeport Public Schools and the Minimum Budget Requirement. We all share a deep commitment to your community and its schools, and are hopeful that our discussions have led us to a positive way forward.
These discussions are especially timely today. In recent years, the State has made extraordinary financial contributions to the Bridgeport Public Schools, which we hope have helped to provide the educational resources that teachers and students need to succeed and, at the same time, have helped to move the district in the direction of budgetary stability. On the other hand, we cannot ignore the division and controversy that have continued to plague the Bridgeport public schools.
We are committed to putting these divisive issues behind us so that the newly elected Board of Education can rededicate itself to the challenges ahead on behalf of Bridgeport’s young people. I know that you share that commitment.
It is clear that the City’s funding for the Board of Education will continue to be a challenge in light of Bridgeport’s fiscal condition. We have identified a way forward that will, we sincerely hope, allow the City to satisfy its obligations, and allow the Board to operate its budget in balance for the 2013-14 school year. It is not ideal, and it will require all parties – the City, the Board, and the State – to make some contribution. But it can be sufficient to allow all parties to turn their attention from past conflicts to our aspirations for the future.
In summary, our tentative plan is to make up for the $3.3 million in MBR shortfall as follows:
1. The City has demonstrated tangible in-kind contributions in the Board’s favor over the last two years which have provided significant budget relief to the Board. The City reasonably expected that those contributions would count toward FY 14 MBR compliance. As a result, the state will credit these contributions against the MBR and adjust the MBR requirement downward by $1.2 million, once necessary documentation is satisfactorily provided to the SDE.
2. The City will make a further contribution to the Board this year in the form of a $1.1 million reduction in the Board’s required contribution for Worker’s Compensation indemnity payments for non-certified staff. This will allow the Board to redeploy existing funds budgeted for that purpose to other areas. The City will provide such detailed assurances as needed by the Board that the City will make up the claims liability, and that this contribution will not impact the Board’s future contributions to the Internal Services Fund or otherwise deplete current or future resources of the school system.
3. The state remains committed to providing assistance to fiscally challenged communities so that they can maintain support for their schools. As part of this effort, the State Department of Education will provide the City with $1.2 million by the end of the fiscal year for the purpose of further supporting the Bridgeport Public Schools. All of these monies must be appropriated by the City to the Board for that purpose prior to the end of the fiscal year. This assistance will be contingent upon the successful completion of all other components by the City of the plan laid out in this letter.
4. Finally, the City, will commit to recommending and diligently working to enact a City budget for FY 15 that complies with the MBR and all local spending requirements, and to working with the Board to develop a long-term strategy for City support of the public schools.
Again, we are hopeful that this plan, and the new resources and partnership that it represents, will serve Bridgeport’s students and help the newly-elected Board to be successful.
State Department of Education
Office of Policy and Management
Why Malloy, Stefan Pryor or Ben Barnes think such a deal wouldn’t need the approval of the State Board of Education or the Connecticut General Assembly is a mystery.
Furthermore, how Governor Malloy could give this tax break to his political ally, Mayor Bill Finch, and not make it available to property taxpayers in Connecticut’s other economically hard hit communities is also unclear.
Alan Taylor, Bridgeport, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor Alan Taylor, Bridgeport, Malloy, Paul Vallas, Stefan Pryor, Steven Ecker
Although it didn’t get a lot of play at the time, following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Carmen Lopez v. Paul Vallas case that let Paul Vallas off the hook for not having the credentials necessary to get his 093 State of Connecticut superintendent certification, attorney Steven Ecker wrote a commentary piece following the court’s decision.
Ecker is the attorney that the City of Bridgeport hired to back up their own lawyers when a Connecticut Superior Court Judge ruled that Vallas lacked the credentials to serve as a superintendent of schools in Connecticut.
As readers may recall, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision after basically finding that Connecticut’s Uniform Procedures Act required that those who opposed Stefan Pryor’s decision to waive Paul Vallas’ need for certification should have first gone to the Connecticut State Board of Education with their complaint before turning to the state courts for action.
Of course, considering the wholly inappropriate way in which Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education and Alan Taylor, Malloy’s appointed Chairman of the State Board, handled Vallas’ three credit independent study — calling it a school leadership program — the chance of a fair hearing before the State Board of Education was non-existent.
Regardless, the state’s highest court did what it did and effectively threw out the attempt to have Vallas removed for failing to complete the school leadership program as mandated by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Malloy.
But as we now know, despite fulfilling his three-year contract or at least staying through the 2013-2014 teacher contract negotiations, as he bragged he would, Vallas announce that he has hightailing it back to Illinois in order to run for Lt. Governor in his home state.
What many people missed, at the time, was that after Vallas announced his impending departure and the Supreme Court ruled that it wasn’t the court’s role to determine whether the Malloy administration had followed the law when they decided a three-credit course counted as a school leadership program, attorney Ecker wrote a commentary piece for the blog “Only in Bridgeport.”
The commentary piece is a classic tribute to the approach Malloy, Pryor, Vallas, Adamowski and their ilk take to citizen input and the rights of the People to pursue their grievances.
In the piece, Ecker suggested that, “perhaps plaintiffs should follow their own guidance and reimburse the City for the cost of defending against a lawsuit that should never have been filed!”
Ecker introduces his piece by observing;
“Neither Mr. Vallas nor his lawyers are interested in gloating over the Supreme Court ruling. I have always felt – and I said in open court back in July – that I do not attribute bad faith to anyone here. Plaintiffs obviously hold strong views about what is best for the educational interests of Bridgeport’s children, and those views deserve respect. However, as I also suggested in the same courtroom on the same day, respect is a two-way street, and it is deeply unfortunate that Mr. Pattis, plaintiffs, and a handful of their supporters find themselves unable to acknowledge that people holding differing views are also acting in good faith, based on their own strongly held convictions about what is right for the schoolchildren of Bridgeport. The need that Mr. Pattis and others evidently feel to personally attack Mr. Vallas (and anyone else who has a differing viewpoint) is what I find so disconcerting. The allegations of corruption, cronyism, incompetence and the rest of the nonsense is both uncivil and irresponsible. It also is highly counter-productive in the long run.
The foregoing explains why I say what follows. Ordinarily I would not comment at any length. But the spinning endlessly promulgated by plaintiffs and their lawyer really warrants a response. So –”
You can find the entire commentary piece at: http://onlyinbridgeport.com/wordpress/vallas-lawyer-attacks-on-school-chief-uncivil-and-irresponsible-rule-of-law-honored-by-vallas/#more-53032
But for those who want the “spark-notes” version, Ecker saves the best for last in which he observes,
“One final point. The Supreme Court decision is by no means a “moot” point. It establishes an important legal point, and also allows Mr. Vallas to help facilitate an orderly transition to a new superintendent. No doubt, Mr. Vallas has just announced that he will be returning to Illinois to seek public office there. Plaintiffs and their lawyer appear pleased by the news, which of course is their right. It is unfair, however, for them or anyone else to use this recent development in an effort to justify the costly and unsuccessful litigation waged by plaintiffs against Vallas over the past seven months, and it is equally unfair to use this news as a reason to ignore or brush aside the Supreme Court’s holding. The rule of law deserves greater respect than that.”
Bridgeport, Kenneth Moales, Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas Bridgeport, Kenneth Moales Jr., Mayor Bill Finch, Paul Vallas
The Connecticut Post has the latest chapter in the Vallas in Wonderland installment with a news article entitled, “Vallas may be going but Moales is not.”
Bridgeport Board of Education members received their packet for Tuesday’s upcoming meeting. Inside was a three page letter from Board Chairman Kenneth Moales, Jr.
Highlights of Moales’ letter to his fellow board members included the following;
“I am writing first and foremost to inform you as my fellow Board members that at the request of my family and church, while I will remain as a member of the school Board, I will not be holding any Board-elected positions beyond November. [Apparently Moales skips over the fact that as a result of last week’s election, control of the Bridgeport Board is going from 5-4 in favor of Mayor Finch, Kenneth Moales and Paul Vallas to a Board that is 5-4 against Finch, Moales, Vallas and the education reforms being forced upon the students, parents and teachers of Bridgeport].
Moales can’t even can make it more than a few sentences before he begins attacking his fellow board members writing, “Unfortunately, however, this progress has often gotten lost in the noise and rancor of our meetings and conduct of our collective Board]. It is ironic statement to be sure considering Moales was the source of the bullying and “rancor” due to his his abusive tactics as Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education.”
Not to be slowed down by the facts, in the next paragraph Moales begins with the statement, “Unfortunately, from the opening minutes of our first public meeting as an elected Board these core responsibilities, let alone the basic standards of conduct, have been ignored. When I was elected Board of Education Chair, it came a mere months into our tenure as a Board, and already we had borne witness to the harassment and political vendettas of some of our colleagues. [As readers remember well, it was Moales who engaged in the unwarranted and discriminatory attacks on the other members, calling them names and literally threatening their safety].
The letter goes on and on, but Moales reserves the best for near the end where he adds, “…and in my final month as Board Chair, I will make one final plea which has repeatedly gone unheard by some individual members of our Board. Please respect the bylaws to which we are elected to uphold.”
The thought of Moales lecturing his fellow Board members about the importance of respecting the bylaws would be like Capital Prep’s Steve Perry holding a workshop the need to end excessive absences.
But back in Bridgeport, Moales, the now outgoing chairman of the Board of Education, ends his letter with the line;
“Yours in Service to Jesus Christ, Pastor Kenneth H. Moales, Jr.”
Thanks to the Connecticut Post you can find the letter at: http://blog.ctnews.com/education/files/2013/11/letter.pdf and the Connecticut Post story on it at: http://blog.ctnews.com/education/2013/11/09/vallas-may-be-going-but-moales-is-not/.
As this latest chapter in the Kenneth Moales Jr. story comes to an end, one wonders whether Moales even knew that before the votes were ever counted, Mayor Bill Finch, using a former Bridgeport state legislator as an intermediary, had already been reaching out to his Democratic opponents looking for a deal to dump Moales as Chairman and replace him with another Democrat on the board.
But that story is for another chapter in the book that will also forever be known as “Vallas in Wonderland.”