*Update: No vote was taken on whether to end the merger with city facilities. Review of the merger was pushed back to next facilities committee meeting, meaning an end to the merger is still on the table.
It appears the Bridgeport Board of Education’s crusade to end all things put in place during the Vallas administration, regardless of merit, is not yet over.
The board is set to once again “review” the merger between district facilities and the city at tonight’s facilities committee meeting.
I say once again, because this is the topic that won’t die.
No matter how many times the city has explained how the merger has benefited the district by removing redundancies, the board refuses to yield, placing this issue on the agenda at just about every facilities committee meeting.
If you’re wondering how much this merger has saved city taxpayers, it was explained in a letter sent to the board by Facilities Chief Jorge Garcia back in February:
“In the past, taxpayers have supported two separate departments that serve similar functions. Through unprecedented collaboration between the City administration and the Board of Education, the Departments were merged to create a more transparent and efficient service delivery system.
In total, the merger of the two departments has resulted in approximately $1 million in operating savings for the Board of Education.”
None of this matters to the board, particularly Howard Gardner and Sauda Baraka, two of the most outspoken opponents of the merger. According to them, there needs to be a “line of demarcation” between the city and the district.
They say it’s because the district is not getting a “fair deal.” Sure, that’s why… Exactly how is saving the district $1 million dollars not a “fair deal?”
Or, maybe the real reason the board has been obsessed with removing all connection with the city is because they view the mayor as a political enemy?
This would explain their attempt to end the memorandum of agreement between school security and the City’s Police Department, which they tried to sneak through in February, despite the merger’s success in keeping arrest and incident rates down. Luckily, that measure was ultimately abandoned due to intense public outcry.
It’s also important to note that the board has been shopping around for a new attorney. They no longer want the city attorney, claiming it will save them money on legal fees … or maybe it’s because they have been toying around with suing the city?
Hopefully, during tonight’s meeting the board will make their decision based on what’s best for the public schools and the children of Bridgeport, and not what might win political points.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Stay tuned for more updates…
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