Saturday, July 20, 2024

Malpractice – Time to Fire the Board of Education

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Letter to the Editor

By David Chess

Dr. Uyi Osunde, Superintendent of Stratford Schools, obtained a formal apology from the New Haven Courts for their misstep in the breach of peace charge made against him last November. The charges were dropped. Despite this, the Board of Education chose to then launch their own investigation into issues that were unrelated to the initial charge, and certainly did not require legal assistance on the part of the board.  

Now, after spending over $100,000 in attorney fees, Thursday night the BOE members voted 4 to 3 along party lines to terminate Dr. Osunde’s contract. In addition to the massive attorney fees were the additional costs of having to hire outside help to run the schools. And those legal fees are not over yet. All of this when our funding for education is being slashed.

To top it off, the Board of Education dismissed Dr. Osunde, but would not share with Stratford citizens the reason for his dismissal.

The arrogance of this board to spend our money and not share with us the grounds for his termination is an insult. Where is their accountability? This is not a democratic or republican issue. It is an issue of respect and responsibility.

It is time to fire the BOE directors and start over. Dr. Osunde was loved and respected by our teachers and students. He had made terrific inroads, taking a demoralized school system and restoring its sense of purpose and morale. He built a team of individuals who every day was excited to make a difference in children’s lives. He was a great role model for our children—about 72% of our students are non white.

Now we are embroiled in a federal lawsuit. Dr Osunde and the NAACP are suing the BOE and Republican leadership. 

The town has hired an army of attorneys with the firm of Berchem Moses PC to defend the members of the board. They are:

Attorney Raymond J. Rigat on behalf of Kristen Bedell, Michael Henrick, Sean Kennedy, William O’Brien, Stratford Board of Education. Attorney Rigat is an experienced litigator with a broad range of experience in state, federal, and military courts.

Attorney Richard J. Buturla on behalf of Kristen Bedell, Michael Henrick, Sean Kennedy, William O’Brien, Stratford Board of Education. Attorney Buturla is a senior partner and chair of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group. He focuses his practice in the areas of municipal law, litigation, civil rights defense and defending government officials.

Attorney Ryan P. Driscoll on behalf of Kristen Bedell, Michael Henrick, Sean Kennedy, William O’Brien, Stratford Board of Education. Attorney Driscoll is a partner in the litigation department. He regularly represents private businesses, municipalities and insurance companies with a focus on defense of civil rights claims.

So, we just went through a brutal budget exercise in which our effective budget was cut by millions of dollars, where we had to close the Alpha program, where we had to fire librarians and tutors and many others so that we can afford lawyers?????

This is massive irresponsibility, where apparent personal vendettas have been put in front of the needs of our children and students.

This is malpractice. The BOE leadership needs to be recalled!

Where is our mayor as our schools burn, as education takes another beating, and so do the reputation and the future of our town?

This will cost Stratford residents millions of dollars. It will be paid for by an increase in mill rate or by a decrease in services, but to be sure, we will be paying for it, not the mayor or Mr. Henrick.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Truer words have not been spoken.
    Mayor Hoydick, tell your dogs to stand down. You are NOT representing the interests of our town, taxpayers, voters, students or employees. Clearly you have some other agenda. I invite you to prove me wrong.

  2. Thank you, Dr. Chess, for that eloquent statement of the embarrassing state of affairs with our school board. The sum that is being spent on defending this worthless vendetta is shameful. If that amount could have been put to positive use in our schools, Stratford could begin to climb the steep slope back to respectability as a town that values and supports its young people by providing them with a solid education. Instead, we have what will be a longstanding court mess to face which will surely mark Stratford as a sub standard community, one that will not draw new residents with families who want to live in a community that nurtures families. 😭

    • Thank you and well said. As a resident a taxpayer and teacher I will cast my vote for those willing to do the right thing and support our schools.

  3. The Republican leadership accepts money from those who are associated to the La Costra Nostra. The names of funds went from democrats in 2017 to current republicans just look up the names. Research it yourself. It’s all there.

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