Pereira Threatens Litigation Over Approval Of Columbus School Commissioner’s Network Letter of Intent

Who could possibly be against getting more funding and resources to the students of Bridgeport?

Apparently, there’s one Bridgeport Board of Education member who is; Maria Pereira. She has vowed to file a formal complaint with the State Board of Education and possibly seek legal action over last Monday night’s vote to allow the Interim Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz to ask the state to put Columbus School on the Commissioner’s Network.

Even more egregious if you consider that Columbus school has been on the state’s list of lowest-performing schools for more than two decades. To put that in more concrete terms, according to last year’s state exams scores, less than 10 percent of students at Columbus are on track in both reading and math.

Yes, seriously.

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The Commissioner’s Network, a state program established by Gov. Dannel Malloy’s 2012 reform bill, looks to help turnaround low-performing by providing schools with additional resources and support. If accepted into the Network, Columbus could receive $600,000 in additional state funding and a turnaround partner, the University of Fairfield, who are slated to use its resources to help the school improve literacy.

So, what exactly is Pereira’s problem with the vote?

She claims to have no issue with the plan, but feels that the district “circumvented state law” by establishing a turnaround committee before bringing the plan to the board — Of course, that’s just her interpretation of the law.

Interim Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz explained last Monday that after Columbus’ initial application to the Commission’s Network was denied last year, the state Department of Education issued a planning grant of $200,000 to test out new ideas. The turnaround committee was formed, was formed for the purposes of developing an in-district turnaround model.

In other words, the authorization for planning came directly from the state. Despite this explanation, and the community support behind the plan, Pereira is still on a mission to halt the school’s application to the Commissioner’s Network.

Why? Because Pereira seems to care more about obstructing people she perceives as political opponents, in this case the superintendent, than improving schools.

While none this is out of character for Pereira, who already sued the district on two separate occasions, it’s pretty incredible that school board member is actively working against bringing money and resources to the district.

How many more generations of students will have to wait, stuck in a school that’s failing them, if Pereira gets her way?



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