Bridgeport · Students

WFP Coalition Wins Control of the School Board

Voter turnout for Tuesday’s election was low across the city. A mere 11.6 percent of registered voters made it to the polls. Black Rock, as usual, saw higher numbers at 26 percent voter turnout. [Moderator’s Report, 11/5/2013]

Unendorsed Democrats Andre Baker, David Hennessey and Howard Gardner all received over 3,000 votes in unofficial tallies. The top vote getter was Andre Baker, which is no surprise, since he appeared on both the Democratic and Working Families Party ballot.

Sauda Baraka won her seat back with1,823 votes. She trailed the Democrats by over 1900 votes.

One big surprise this election was Republican Joe Larcheveque beating out Working Families candidate and current PAC president Eric Stewart-Alicea by a slim 93 vote margin. Larcheveque’s lead can be attributed to how well he did in Black Rock. He was the second highest vote getter at Black Rock with 593 votes. Only Dave Hennessey beat him out. [Election Results, 11/6/2013]

Even though one Republican candidate was able to sneak in, ultimately the Working Families Party will be in control of the Board of Education as of December 9th.

So, what happens next?

The Working Families taking control of the board means Maria Periera, the new Working Families chairman, won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Despite not running for re-election, Pereira has put herself in an arguably more powerful position by taking the job of chairman. Her influence on the board is likely to continue.

Since the election, there has been a lot of speculation as to whether the Working Families Party will oust Superintendent Paul Vallas immediately.

Lindsey Farrell, executive director of the Working Families Party, has already told the Connecticut Post that the first item on the agenda is to get rid of Vallas. The candidates have not been so direct. [Connecticut Post, 11/6/2013]

I hope the new majority’s first act on the board isn’t to cost the tax payers $400,000, if not more.

If you consider Vallas’ yearly salary, health benefits and the cost of an interim superintendent – the cost of firing Vallas would be astronomical and a huge loss to the district. It would make more sense, even from their standpoint, to wait until the state Supreme Court decision comes down.

I really wonder why some in the party are in such a rush to get rid of the superintendent? It doesn’t really make any sense, since he can’t do much without the board’s say.

I wonder if it has something to do with their union backers. The BEA basically bankrolled the unendorsed Democrats’ campaign and has close ties to the Working Families Party… maybe the union can’t wait because contract negations are underway.

I just hope the new board thinks about the consequences before making such hasty decisions.



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