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The Danbury Board of Education's 3,000 dollar mistake (take 2)

Thursday, July 21, 2011
Time: 5:16 PM

Members of the Board of Education discuss the appointment of Dr. Robert Rossi as Principal of Danbury High School
June 24 Board of Education meeting. Photo by ctblogger

I was on the interviewing committee...and this has nothing to do with the candidate, it has a lot to do with the process.

I think as leaders, at time point when the flaws came in this particular situation, that we should have stopped the process and started again.

-Comment from Board of Education member Gladys Cooper regarding
flaws in the principal search process, June 2009

I sat on the interviewing committee and my overall impression was that frankly, I felt pressured. I felt that it moved very quickly and it's such a critical position and I had hoped that we would go out again and continue the search. However, this has nothing to do with the candidate, I'm just talking about process.

...the board of education does have the option to interview the finalists candidates, and I really wished we [the board] had this opportunity to interview Mr. Rossi...I know it's impossible to go out again at this time, but I do wish we had more opportunity to interview Mr. Rossi.

-Board of education member Joan Hodge, June 2009

As a follow-up to my initial post regarding the questionable decisions made by the Board of Education that resulted in the hiring of DHS ex-Principal Robert Rossi, here's a post from the HatCityBLOG archives that examined the disagreement among members of the board over the entire principal search process.

HatCityBLOG July 2 2009:

Although Danbury High School has a new leader, lingering questions remain in regards to the principal search process used by the Board of Education and School Superintendent Sal Pascarella.

Although the school board's site visit trip to Arizona has certainly generated quite a deal of criticism, what I found most interesting had nothing to do with the amount of the trip or the number of people who went to Arizona, but rather the members of the board who were picked to go on the trip.

Unlike the school superintendent and members of the high school administration, the two members of the board of education who were picked to go on the trip, Democrat Rachel Austin and Republican Irving Fox, were not involved in any manner with the search process. What's more intriguing is that the board members who were involved in the search process, Democrat Joan Hodge and Democrat Gladys Cooper, happened to be the most critical about the process as a whole and expressed their displeasure on the record.

From June 24th's BOE meeting, here's video footage of comments made by Cooper, Hodge, Austin, and Fox regarding the search process.

With such a difference of opinion between those who went on the trip and those who didn't, after the meeting, I talked to one board member who went on the site visit trip, and one who didn't go on the visit (but was involved in interviewing the principal candidates) to get their perspective on the the process as a whole.

Joan Hodge: Process was "very poorly organized"

Citing various concerns she had with the search process as a whole, in my interview with board member Hodge, she expanded on her displeasure with certain elements of the process, such as committee members who shared confidential information with members of the public, and legitimate questions regarding the site visit trip to Arizona.

Irving Fox: Process was a cost savings for taxpayers

Taking a different approach on the matter, in my interview with board member Fox, the one of the two individuals from the board who went on the site visit to Arizona defended the trip and highlighted the cost savings achieved by the direction the board took in the search process decisions.

In the end, whether or not the search process used by the board was worth the savings to the taxpayers (and the public outrage) is up for the residents of Danbury to decide.

posted by ctblogger at 5:16 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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Barrera v. Boughton, No. 07-01436
(D. Conn. filed Sept. 26, 2007)

(02.25.08) Court Docket

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(10.03.06) VIDEO: Danbury 11 rally

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