The Bridgeport, CT Takeover: The Level of Deceit is Shocking…

Paul Vallas (Photo courtesy of CTPost)

Cross-posted from the blog Wait, What?,

Earlier this week, the Connecticut’s governor and legislature agreed to give Bridgeport a “forgivable loan” of $3.4 million dollars in return for giving up the right to choose their own superintendent.

Bridgeport’s schools are facing a deficit of less than 1.5 percent.

There were numerous options, yet the Democrats who lead the state and Bridgeport chose the one that takes away the democratic rights of the citizens of Bridgeport.

Can you imagine the state of Connecticut giving up its sovereign democratic rights for a loan to cover a 1.5 percent revenue shortfall?  Connecticut didn’t do that when it had a 30 percent budget shortfall.

Now, new evidence, some of which was published in an article in yesterday’s CT Post reveals the depth to which the Malloy and Finch administrations have gone to disenfranchise Bridgeport’s voters and take control Bridgeport’s schools.

Next week, the illegal, state appointed board overseeing Bridgeport’s school system, will approve a new multi-year contract with Paul Vallas as part of their on-going effort to prevent a democratically elected board of education from determining Bridgeport’s education future.

By locking Vallas into a $250,000 to $500,000 contract, the appointed board is attempting to make it too expensive for the soon to be elected board to pick a new leader.  The democratically elected board would have to start by buying out Vallas’s contract.  In this way, Malloy and Finch and their advisors can effectively ensure that their choice for superintendent stays in place.

But what is even more interesting is the extent to which Malloy and Finch loyalists have set up yet another mechanism to make sure that they can override any choice made by Bridgeport’s voters.

Calling it part of the “bail-out” plan, Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor proposed and the Democratic legislature approved a provision that “loans” Bridgeport $3.4 million in return for requiring that Bridgeport’s future superintendent come from a list of three people put together by Commissioner Pryor, a Malloy political appointee, who hasn’t been elected by anyone.

Furthermore, the CT Post has now discovered that this unprecedented effort to block the will of Bridgeport’s voters has been in the works for months.

Going all the way back to October, 2011, the Malloy and Finch administrations were in discussions aimed at giving the state the power to appoint Bridgeport’s superintendent, in return for a short-term loan.  At one point the proposed loan was only $1.5 million.  As we now know, the loan amount ended up at the $3.4 million level.

The key player for the state has been Ben Barnes, Malloy’s Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.  Barnes had previously worked for Malloy in Stamford and then took the post of finance director for the Bridgeport School District.  As finance director, Barnes was responsible for Bridgeport’s school budget.  As a result of inadequate funding and poor management, Barnes left a huge budget deficit in place when he moved on to become Malloy’s budget director.

Now, as Malloy’s OPM secretary, Barnes has positioned himself in such a way as to continue to play a major role in Bridgeport’s finances.

The public documents that the CT Post acquired show that the people involved in the wheeling and dealing included Barnes, Commissioner Pryor, Pryor’s chief of staff, Adam Goldfarb; former Schools Superintendent John Ramos, Mayor Bill Finch and some of Finch’s top aides.

In the end, the legislation that was adopted earlier this week provides Bridgeport with the forgivable loan in return for giving the state control over who will lead Bridgeport’s schools.

The legislation gives Commissioner Pryor the authority to develop a list of three names for the position of Bridgeport’s superintendent and then allows the Bridgeport board of education to choose one.

However, Pryor is now saying that he intends to allow Bridgeport’s board to pick the three finalists and he would then “sign off” on the final decision.

Either way, the impact is the same.

Stefan Pryor (Courtesy of CEABlog)

The Malloy and Finch administrators have positioned themselves to retain control of Bridgeport’s schools regardless of what Bridgeport’s voters want.  They will do it by extending Vallas’ contract and if that doesn’t work, they will do it by having Pryor pick Bridgeport’s school leader.

All to cover a 1.5 percent deficit?

Who are they kidding?

Here is a link to the CT Post article:

Posted on by Jonathan Pelto Posted in Uncategorized

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