BRIDGEPORT — The district’s teachers’s union says Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas is breaking the law by not allowing teachers, parents and the community to participate in their schools as outlined by state statutes.
The Connecticut Education Association, on Tuesday, filed a complaint with the state Department of Education on behalf of the Bridgeport Education Association.
The Connecticut General Assembly created School Governance Councils as a way to involve parents, teachers and the community in the education process. Gary Peluchette, a Winthrop teacher and president of the Bridgeport Education said the law is largely being ignored by Vallas.
In a 15 page complaint, numerous examples of violations are cited and at least four examples of parents or staff members who say the law is not being carried out as intended. According to the complaint, the councils:
•were not given an opportunity to review 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.
The complaint goes on to cite a school board meeting at which Vallas indicated there were priorities more pressing that governance councils.
Peluchette and Vallas were not immediately available for comment. In a written press release, Sheila Cohen, president of the CEA said: “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.”
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.”
The Connecticut Education Association represents 43,000 teachers in Connecticut.