Bridgeport School Superintendent Paul Vallas is breaking the law by not allowing teachers, parents, and community leaders to participate in the educational process as outlined in state statutes, according to a complaint filed by the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) with the State Department of Education today.
The complaint details specific violations of state law regarding School Governance Councils, Connecticut General Statutes Section 10-223 j.
CEA filed the complaint on behalf of Bridgeport teacher and President of the Bridgeport Education Association Gary Peluchette.
The Connecticut General Assembly created School Governance Councils to involve the community, parents, and teachers in the educational process across the state, but Peluchette says that’s not what’s been happening in Bridgeport.
“The beneficial purpose of School Governance Councils has been largely ignored by Bridgeport Public Schools and Superintendent Vallas. The complaint cites numerous violations of state law that need to be addressed and corrected immediately,” said Peluchette.
According to the complaint, state laws were violated because the following happened with members of School Governance Councils. The councils:
- were not given an opportunity to review the fiscal objectives of the draft budget for the school and provide advice before it was submitted to the superintendent
- did not participate in the hiring process of administrators
- did not work with school administration to develop and approve a school compact
- were not involved in developing and approving a written parent involvement policy outlining the role of parents in the school
- had no involvement in analyzing school achievement data and school needs relative to the improvement plan for the school
- did not assist the principal in making programmatic and operational changes for improving the school’s achievement
- have not been made aware of their authority, nor have they been given opportunities to exercise this authority
“These are just some of the examples of the flagrant disregard Bridgeport Public Schools Superintendent Vallas has shown for School Governance Councils and state law,” said Connecticut Education Association President Sheila Cohen.
Cohen added, “School Governance Councils have a successful track record of engaging parents, teachers, and community members in important school activities and providing collaborative support to improve student achievement. These opportunities and the benefit of state laws must be afforded members of the Bridgeport school community.”