Board Of Education Chairman Baraka Blocks Public Forum, Then Calls City Out for “Lack of Transparency”


At last week’s Facilities Meeting, the Working Families Party insisted the Finch Administration kept the new Harding High School Construction project under wraps.

To refresh your memory, this was the meeting where Jon Bagley handed the reins of the committee to retired-lawyer and not-school-board-member Carmen Lopez. The Working Families Party and their allies used this opportunity to promote all sorts of speculation about the project.

One of the points Bagley’s Working Families Party buddies kept emphasizing was that the city kept the public in the dark about this project… except that’s not really what happened at all.

According to a source at City Hall, an open public forum was scheduled for January 31st 2014, hosted by Harding Principal Mrs. Carmen McPherson-Varner. City officials and representatives from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were ready to sit down and speak with the community about the project.

Two days before the forum, Board of Education Chair Sauda Baraka pulled the plug on the event. [Harding High School Website]

To reiterate: Baraka cancelled Harding High School’s public forum, only to later accuse the city of lacking transparency. Then the Working Families Party-controlled board held a “public” forum without giving the five days’ notice required by their own bylaws. [Board Bylaws]

Let’s be honest. The Working Families Party cancelled the initial meeting because they didn’t want the community to hear any other opinion but their own. They were upset because the public hadn’t heard their side.

Which is apparently more important than giving the actual Harding High School community a chance to speak about their school.



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