Bridgeport’s “Parent” Council: $180,000 in Tax Dollars and no Accountability

At last week’s regular Bridgeport Board of Education meeting, while admonishing board members over a community forum flyer, District Parent Advisory Council President Tammy Boyle said something very interesting. She reminded the board that she represents the “elected PAC parents.”

Yes, except, who exactly elected Boyle as president? Certainly not Bridgeport parents, since Boyle wasn’t elect through a district-wide vote.

No, in fact, she was appointed to both the position of vice-president and then president after a series of resignations.

In the same way, no district vote was held for Maria Pereira when she was appointed community representative a few weeks ago. Instead, Pereira, who is just about the most divisive person they could have picked, was appointed to the position by the District Parent Advisory Council’s Executive Board.

None of this is technically against the parent advisory council bylaws, but then again, just as with these appointments, those bylaws were revised last year behind closed doors and without a district-wide vote.

Some of the notable changes to the bylaws made by the executive board: Doing away with Robert’s Rules of Order, removing a school community’s ability to create their own bylaws and allowing for the removal of parents during public meetings.

Sounds real democratic.

Let’s not forget this is the same organization that dragged a parent out of a public meeting merely for disagreeing.

How can the Parent Advisory Council, an organization whose entire purpose is to garner greater parent involvement, get away with systematically disenfranchising parents?

I think parents deserve answers. That’s why I’ve filed a series of Freedom of Information Act requests with the district asking for information about the PAC, in the hopes to find out more.

So far the stock answer from Boyle and others, including board chair Sauda Baraka, has been to insist the board of education has no role in governing the Parent Advisory Council.

If not the board, then who does? Or are we supposed to believe that an organization that receives nearly $180,000 in federal funding has absolutely no oversight?



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