Bridgeport · Students

Public Forum Showcases Bridgeport BOE Candidates

“It’s all about the children”

A statement repeated by Kathryn Bukovsky, Democratic endorsed candidate for Bridgeport’s Board of Education, but also echoed throughout Monday’s Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport public forum, which featured both city and state candidates for the upcoming September primary and November general elections.

The purpose of Monday’s forum was for Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport, a new Political Action Committee with members mostly from Black Rock, to question primary candidates asking for their endorsement. The forum allowed each candidate to speak and then opened for public questions and statements.

Most of the candidates in attendance were running for the five open Board of Education seats, including five out of the six candidates running in September’s Democratic primary.

Of the endorsed slate, two candidates were in attendance: Kathryn Bukovsky, parent of a student at Black Rock School, and Brandon Clark, a councilor at Achievement First Charter School in Bridgeport. Rev. Simon Castillo, who is running on the same slate, was absent.

All three candidates on the challenger slate were in attendance: Current Bridgeport City Councilmen for the 139th district Andre Baker, former councilmen Dave Hennessey, and ex-councilmen candidate Howard Gardner. This slate, challenging the slate endorsed by the Democratic Party, is referring to itself as “the best slate” and is backed by members of the Bridgeport Education Association and supporters of the Working Families Party. Baker is even being endorsed as a Working Families Party Candidate in addition to appearing on the Democratic primary ballot.

Dave Hennessey noted the lack of open discussion and civility as one of the reasons he choose to run.

Brandon Clark, running with the endorsed slated, said his reason for running was “to prove to the single parents in Bridgeport and the kids of Bridgeport, that while the road is long and hard, college is possible…”  Clark believes that “exceptional work can happen.”

His running mate, Kathryn Bukovsky, wants to use her experience as an education market researcher to bring more grant money to Bridgeport schools.

A common thread throughout the speeches was a greater focus on the children of Bridgeport, and less on the adult of the school board.

The Democratic primary will certainly be an interesting race to watch. With Sauda Baraka being the only incumbent running, this should be one of the most hotly contested board races Bridgeport has seen in a long time.

What do you think?

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