After months of back and forth between a divided school board, Mayor Joseph Ganim took matters into his own hands last Saturday, appointing Republican Annette Segarra-Negron to the vacant Bridgeport Board of Education seat left when David Hennessey resigned in May.
Unfortunately, the drama surrounding Hennessey resignation is by no means settled.
Last month, Bridgeport parent and former school board candidate Karen Jackson filed a complaint against the city, alleging that the city violated their charter by claiming only a republican was eligible to fill the vacancy. A hearing is scheduled for August 31st.
Negron, born and raised on Bridgeport’s East-End, was picked out of a pool of four candidates who applied for the position. According to the Connecticut Post, she works for State Department of Education at Bullard Havens Technical High School and has been active in the Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders.
“She’s a woman with much experience in education,” said Chair Dennis Bradley while introducing the new member during Monday’s unofficial meeting. “She’s a person who understands the importance of teachers.”
While some seemed to welcome the addition, not all members of the BOE are happy about the appointment. Maria Pereira has already publicly come out against Negron’s appointment. In a comment on the blog Only In Bridgeport, Pereira said she believes the courts will strike down the choice.
Pereira and others in the community believe that, despite state law and the ruling of both the city and BOE attorneys, the mayor has no right to appoint a member. They argue that the city charter trumps state law, which doesn’t specifically cover school board resignations.
At the heart of this controversy, like much of what’s been going on recently at the BOE is the political conflict between Ganim’s administration and a small group of school board members who distrust the mayor’s motives. Pereira is at the center of this.
One time an ally of the mayor, Pereira’s relationship with Ganim is rumored to have soured over education issues — not very surprising given her track record of keeping friends.
One thing’s for sure, It’s going to be interesting how this all plays out especially with the beginning of the school year only six weeks away.
For some more background info on Hennessey’s resignation, here are past articles on the topic:
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