About three weeks ago, former School Board Member Maria Pereira and District Parents Advisory Council (DPAC) President Tammy Boyle threatened to sue the Bridgeport Board of Education, claiming that the DPAC’s Executive Board was in full support of hiring Attorney Norman Pattis to represent them.
Evidentially, that wasn’t the case at all.
According to Blackrock School PAC (SPAC) President Lisa Castro and Vice President Mandi Jennings, the decision to hire Pattis was made behind closed doors, without the consent of the full DPAC Executive Board.
SPAC presidents were never allowed to vote on whether to hire an attorney, or even notified that money was being raised to do so.
This is a huge problem. Not just because it’s untruthful, undemocratic and unethical, but it’s also in violation of the DPAC bylaws. The very bylaws that have been used recently to kick certain parents out of SPAC leadership positions.
The District PAC bylaws state that the district PAC Executive Board includes one voting member from each school PAC:
1. A.) There shall be a District Parent Advisory Council Executive Board and it shall be made-up of:
1) President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Bilingual Secretary, and District Community Committee Representatives;
2) Either the President or Vice President from each Bridgeport Public School Parents Advisory Council
It’s important to note, that the bylaws do not give executive board officers any additional voting rights or privileges—yet, that’s exactly what’s been happening.
According to both Jennings and Castro, school PAC presidents are rarely, if ever, allowed to weigh in or vote on issues.
“They have created this smaller executive board that’s just made up of the president and vice president, that was elected, the treasurer and the different positions,” said Castro.
“Certain things are just being put forward based on that smaller group voting.”
For example, Jennings said that SPAC presidents never voted on whether to support Fast PASS back in October. This didn’t stop Boyle or Pereira from issuing statements on behalf of all the PAC parents denouncing it.
“We were given information that said the District PAC is against the Fast PASS and people raised their hands and they were like ‘but, I didn’t say I was against Fast PASS,’” said Jennings.
“They’re grandstanding as if they represent us, and they do represent us on paper, but they definitely don’t represent our opinions.”
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