Bassick High School’s emergency renovation project is stuck in limbo, and the Bridgeport Board of Education is trying to blame the City of Bridgeport rather than taking responsibility for their own mistake.
In a recent blog post, the Connecticut Post’s Linda Lambeck revealed that Bassick’s roof project, which has been on the table for quite some time, was not submitted to the state.
The board desperately wants us to believe that the city dropped the ball — a point Chairwoman Sauda Baraka drove home during Monday’s night’s board meeting when she reminded upset Bassick parents and teachers that the board doesn’t have control over the facilities department.
But the fact is that the Board of Education is responsible for this failure, and Baraka herself was warned it would happen.
You see, once the city council approved the project last spring, amending their five-year capital plan, the city put together the state bonding application. Included in that application were “Educational Specifications,” a key component to the state application.
According to city officials, the Educational Specifications needed to be approved by the board of education before they could be sent to the state.
But the Bridgeport Board of Education never approved the specifications, despite repeated attempts by the city.
Baraka and the board can’t feign ignorance here, either. They were well aware this was part of the process.
In fact, during the June 18 Facilities Committee meeting attended by Baraka, City Facilities Director Jorge Garcia explained the process to the board.
He told them that once the documents were completed by the city’s Facilities Department, they must then be signed off by the board.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a Facilities Committee meeting since then.
A month later, on July 22, O&G Construction Program Manager Larry Schilling sent an email to Board member and Facilities Committee Chair John Bagley requesting items, including the approval of the Educational Specifications document for Bassick’s roof. Two weeks after that, on August 5, Schilling sent another email with the same request to Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz.
And then O&G Construction went to the School Building Committee. On August 21, during the last School Building Committee meeting, O&G’s Scott Baillie told the committee that he had been trying to request certain items be added to a Facilities Committee meeting agenda.
When will Sauda Baraka and the Bridgeport Board of Education own the fact that it is their fault and not the city’s that Bassick students and teachers are left with a leaky, unsafe roof?
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