March 2, 2012

Educators Not On The Same Page

Related to today's story, the city's Board of Education appears to have its own rift.

Note from Board of Education member Genard Dolan on Friday morning:
Steve, you write that the members of the BOE are in conflict with the City Council.  Do not confuse the public by equating the Supt. with the BOE Commissioners.  The Supt. is speaking for himself on behalf of the Administration not the elected BOE.  The BOE members have been unaware of the discourse described in your article.  Unfortunately it gives your readers the misinformation of the Supt. speaking for the Board of Education.  You should correct this misinformation with a retraction or a corrected version of events.   Chris Wilson's quote regarding the cost per student seems unrelated to the conflict between Supt. Streifer and the Council.  In fairness to the Commissioners, you should explain the difference between the elected Board members and the Central office of the Supt.

Note from Board of Education Chairman Chris Wilson on Thursday afternoon:
Education reform is swirling all around the country, in CT and in Bristol.  All of this talk of reform causes anxiety and uncertainty for all those involved in education-students, parents, BOE members, staff and the community at large.  I am not sure about a rift.  We are all trying to do our best.  We may becoming at it from a different perspective.  137 cities and towns spend more $ than Bristol per student.  It seems that the city council wants to erode that position further.  I and some other board members support what we have accomplished over the past 8 plus years.  We do not want the quality which has been built here decimated.  WE have attracted a quality teacher staff and administrative staff which has delivered excellent results.  Since we have been level funded by the city for 3 years the fiscal constraints are significant.
We as BOE members have had to tackle difficult issues-closing schools, redistricting, program changes or eliminations.  All of these are challenging tasks without the fiscal constraints but the fiscal constraints make it more daunting.   
I am committed to public education.  I am committed to all students having the opportunity to attend college or some other post graduate experience in order that those 8500 students who pass through our doors have that opportunity.  Sometimes as we modify programs and reallocate resources to accomplish that goal the status quo is challenged.
As far as Ken’s point about the old guard.  3 incumbents ran for BOE and were elected so I am not sure what change he refers.  I think our rating within the state is pretty good and I am proud of that.  When one looks at quality schools systems throughout the state those that have a single minded focus are the successful ones.  Those where the leaders are not single minded are unsuccessful.  I am hopeful we will have the single minded and non partisan relationship which existed prior the this past election.

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