Saturday, July 20, 2024

Call For Accountability By BOE

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Letter to the Editor

Calling for Accountability From Stratford Board of Education

By Dr. Lesly Valbrun
President, Greater Bridgeport NAACP

Are you basically a law-abiding citizen (most of the time as far as you know)? What is up with recent clamor concerning “the rule of law”? Or is it the amount of time it seems to take before news from official media or the social variety introduces a subject like ‘weaponization of the justice authority’ or ‘politicization of those serving as judges’ that causes increased concern? What about administrative processes, once initiated, that are not open, accountable, or transparent, yet citizens are expected to have faith in such a system?

Locally a school board already split 4-3 between the two major parties found reason to prohibit the presence of their well-educated Superintendent of Schools, a man of color, who had presided over the school system with increased standardized student test results and positive professional evaluations for more than two years since his hire. But a seemingly minor domestic incident blossomed into something more in the minds of several of these Board of Education (BOE) officials. And the community asks, “Why?”

I use the word ‘minor’ because the investigating Police report from New Haven, and the court action subsequent saw the matter dismissed within two months. That is when the Stratford BOE members went to work, directing lawyers, paid by the taxpayers of Stratford, to research the matter. Why did they do that and ban him from leading the town’s educational team, while funding his compensation per contract? Is there a more honest narrative that would account for party line pollical voting?

During that period of time, funds in addition to legal expenses became part of education expenses. Has any accounting been made to taxpayers? More importantly it would appear from resignations and new hires by the BOE to the administrative staff that it likely seemed abnormal or chaotic to the educational professionals serving the community and to parents as well.

Currently the full report is complete. Legal spokesperson Floyd Dugas, a Board attorney, suggests that the report is subject to “attorney-client privilege.” Does that mean the Board will not share the entire matter with the public? How long does it take to read the results and report as community stewards? To the extent that racial concerns were raised at initial community meetings, what does the BOE report indicate towards that subject? The community members of the Greater Bridgeport NAACP wish to know the answers to our questions above, which we have patiently awaited. Please provide all the facts that you have uncovered and share a frank assessment of how your actions benefited the students, community taxpayers, and the professionals who create a community legacy each year they consciously decide to be employed by the Stratford BOE. Accountability and honesty by elected officials is essential today, and always.

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