Andre Baker is the fourth Bridgeport Board of Education member to resign from their post in the last two years — the latest in what has become a revolving door of school board members throwing in the towel.
It couldn’t come at a worse time. School starts in two weeks, and this newest resignation could throw the school board into even more turmoil.
Agenda items that include the fate of school safety officers and a pending lawsuit against the school district remain in limbo. The board has been unable to reach a quorum effectively leaving many unanswered questions for the upcoming school year and once again the fate of Bridgeport children hanging in the balance.
Baker, also a state representative (D-124 Bridgeport) filed his resignation letter on Monday —the ink barely dry on Dave Hennessey’s resignation — stating that he wanted to concentrate on being a father and state legislator. It’s hard to argue with his reasoning, but it wouldn’t be shocking if the contentious infighting and months of deadlocked meetings were just too much for the pragmatic Baker.
Unlike other recent resignations, this did not come out of the blue. Baker confessed to the Connecticut Post’s Linda Lambeck that his colleagues were aware that he was contemplating resigning.
Baker won his school board seat in 2013 on the same democratic slate as Hennessey. Though, unlike his former running mate, whose resignation in May spurred an ongoing legal battle, he didn’t change his party affiliation during his tenure.
Hennessey was recently replaced by Annette Segara Negron, though her short time on the school board has been plagued with controversy. Fellow BOE member Maria Pereira already pledged to fund the retainer for an attorney to sue the district over Negron’s appointment by Mayor Joseph Ganim.
With two board members resigning in a matter of only five months, tensions between factions increasing and a new lawsuit, the public trust is continually being eroded. While the school board continues to bicker over insular political issues, over a quarter of Bridgeport students attend chronically low-performing schools and the district’s finances remain in disarray.
This dysfunction needs to stop, and soon.
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