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The Danbury Board of Education's 3,000 dollar mistake (take 1)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Time: 7:57 PM

In honor of Danbury High Shcool controversial principal Robert Rossi's case of homesickness, lets take a look back at the series of criticism the Board of Education received by Republicans, Democrats, and members of the public over their hiring process that resulted in Rossi coming to Danbury in the first place.

I like to call this the 3,000 dollar screw-up mistake...lets begin.

News-Times, June 3 2009: Boughton and Common Council officials blows his gasket over BOE trip to Arizona

City officials were outraged this week to learn several school board members and school administrators traveled to Arizona -- on the taxpayers' dime -- to interview a job candidate.

"We don't need to go out of state to find qualified candidates to lead our schools," said Mayor Mark Boughton. "This represents a disconnect the (education) board has with our financial situation we have now and going forward into the future."

School Superintendent Sal Pascarella said five people, including himself, took the trip last Thursday to interview one of two finalists for high school principal.

Both candidates previously traveled to the Danbury for the initial stages of the interview process, he said.

Others on the two-day trip, which Pascarella said cost about $3,000, were two high school administrators and education board members Irving Fox and Rachel Austin.


Boughton said the money spent on the trip is important, but the message it sends is even more of a concern.

"I've said publicly before that I'm proud of the work the district has done to contain costs, but one trip to Arizona undermines all that," he said. "I don't think recruiting from outside the state demonstrates that you are committed to containing costs."

Boughton, who was a social studies teacher at the high school for nearly 14 years before entering politics, said he knows for a fact there were "internal candidates who were discouraged from applying" for the job.

"That's a problem," he said. "I know these individuals and I know they are capable of leading that school."


Common Council president Joe Cavo said he would like to get more information about the trip, but that sending five people to Arizona seems "ludicrous in this time, given how tight the budgets are.

"For them to take a trip like that is totally unreasonable. ... I'm sure there are other ways they could have acquired that information."

Council minority leader Tom Saadi said if a site inspection is a necessary part of the process, he could see sending one or maybe two officials to Arizona, but not five.

"It's completely unacceptable given the economic straits that we're in," he said. "Especially at a time when we are asking all employees, unions and department heads to look for cost savings. Ultimately, it's the city of Danbury taxpayers that will have to pay this bill."

June 2009 Common Council meeting discussion on BOE's trip to Arizona:

And who could forget this gem of a post I did on the irresponsible trip that took the level of outrage to a new level.

HatCityBLOG June 5 2009:

Picture of Desert Edge High School, Goodyear, Ariz

Okay, follow me down this road of logic...

From Eileen FitzGerald's interview with Danbury Superintendent Sal Pascarella regarding the now infamous school board "principal search" trip to Arizona.
The school district was harshly criticized by Mayor Mark Boughton and the Common Council this week for spending about $3,000 for five people to travel to Arizona to visit Rossi's school last week.

Okay, based on the article ALONE, we now know that last week, Pascarella, assistant high school principals Gary Bocaccio and Jesse Ballenger, and school board members Rachael Austin and Irving Fox, went to Arizona to visit the candidate's [Robert Rossi Principal, Desert Edge High School, Goodyear, Ariz] place of employment and do some observations.

Well, Desert Edge High School has a website...and here's what they have to say (note the section in the black rectangle).

Picture 17

Okay, lets recap:

The Superintendent of School, two assistant principals and a Democratic and Republican member of the Board of Education took a trip to Arizona to visit and observe a candidate for principal of Danbury High School last week (May 24-May 30) YET, based on it's own website, Desert Edge High School had no kids or staff as of May 22nd?

...and of course, the News-Times article makes no mention of this FINE detail.

In closing, a quote from Dr. Sal.
"That's why we go and make site visits,'' he said. "We do Google searches, check things out, and then go face to face, he said. "We want to get the best people in the position."


"Because we've had such a high turnover (of leaders) at the high school, it was important to have veteran high school administrators there [at the Arizona visit].

In 10 years, we have had five principals at the high school. I needed to have their (assistant principals') input and their eyes."

Random thoughts:

1. I don't know how one "check things out" when the school you've visiting is closed.

2. I don't know how assistant principals give their input when the STAFF and KIDS at the high school are gone for the summer (i.e., NO REGULAR CLASSES ARE BEING TAUGHT).

As every day goes by, more questions pop up regarding this entire fiasco...hopefully, soon the public will be provided answers from ALL PARTIES involved in this situation.

Take 2 coming soon...somewhere Tim Salem is having a good laugh.

posted by ctblogger at 7:57 PM | Permalink|


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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.



Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
3:06-cv-01992-RNC ( D. Conn. )

(02.25.08) Court docket

(10.24.07) Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Emergency Motion for Protective Order

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(12.14.06) Complaint

Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436
(D. Conn. filed Sept. 26, 2007)

(02.25.08) Court Docket

Amended complaint

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

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(09.18.07) Yale Law Students expose Danbury involvement in raid

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Interview with Yale Law Students at FOI presser

(12.14.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 FOI complaint media roundup

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(10.03.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 rally

(09.29.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 case deepens

Word of raid spread across the country

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