The Bridgeport Board of Education established the district- and school-based Parent Advisory Councils under Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — you’d think that would mean the district was responsible for the PAC’s actions.
Not according to Tammy Boyle, President and Overlord of Bridgeport’s Parents Advisory Council, who believes the PAC is beholden to no authority other than itself.
For some reason, the board seems to agree. Community Engagement Chair Hernan Illingworth opened last Thursday’s committee meeting which dealt with parent concerns by saying “this is not a hearing,” because the board “has no jurisdiction on how the PAC governs itself.”
No jurisdiction? Then, who does? Are you telling me an organization that receives Federal Title I money doesn’t have any oversight? That’s absurd!
The board is basically saying the District PAC holds all the authority and parents and school PACs have no recourse when that authority is abused.
Considering the piling parent complaints against the District Parents Advisory Council, It’s clear the organization has no problem with abusing their power.
Remember, this is the same District Parents Advisory Council that dragged a parent out of a meeting by police escort for questioning unfair bylaw changes— bylaws that were changed by the Executive Board without ever allowing for parents and school PACs to weigh in.
Board Chair Sauda Baraka excused this behavior, arguing the board can’t get involved because the Parents Advisory Council should not have a “top-down” structure.
The irony is that the Parents Advisory Council does have a “top-down” structure.
The District Parents Advisory Council Executive Board has a ridiculous amount of authority over school PACs. Most notably, the Executive Board gave themselves the power to change bylaws at whim, remove parents from PAC meetings and dismiss school PAC members, as they did with Juan Torrealba at Cesar Batalla School.
Then again, Baraka’s defense of the group comes as no surprise. Let’s not forget that the current District Parents Advisory Council Executive Board, including Boyle, came to power by throwing out hundreds of parent votes with the help of the Working Families Party.
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