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From: Baraka, Sauda Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2014 5:08 PM To: Vallas, Paul Subject: Public Communications

-- BBOE (Perez-Dickson) Dear Mr. Vallas: I have received numerous telephone calls regarding remarks made by Dr. Sandra Kase at a press conference held on, Friday, February 21, 2014. The press conference, which aired on several news stations and was widely reported, concerned Carmen Perez Dickson. As you know, the BBOE made a decision after holding a hearing concerning the status of Principal Dickson. Prior to the press conference on Friday, February 21, you and I had several conversations. In none of those conversations, did you disclose any information concerning a planned press conference. This leads me to conclude that either you knew nothing about Dr. Kases plans to address the media concerning a decision made by the BBOE after an exhaustive hearing, or you deliberately chose to withhold that information from the Chairman of the Board of Education. As you are well aware, this press conference violates BOE policy 9020. In both of the conversations that you and I had, and in an email sent to you and to all members of the Board, I explained that we had been advised by legal counsel to make no comment on the case. This was due to the fact that litigation is ongoing, and any comments might jeopardize the process and expose the Board to legal liability. Imagine my shock and surprise when Dr. Kase not only commented on the Boards decision, but chose to make negative comments concerning that decision and the sanctions imposed by the Board. The conduct of Dr. Kase raises several questions, which I believe must be answered immediately. First, did you designate and authorize Dr. Kase as your representative to address the press in this matter? Regardless of her personal opinion, she is an employee of the BBOE and is therefore required to comply with Board policy 9020. Second, according to channel 12 news the parent who distributed the tape, reported that she requested, and received the tape, from the BBOE in November 2013. Please inform me of the name and position of the BBOE employee, consultant, attorney or agent, who released that tape on behalf of the Bridgeport Board of Education.

The Board had no knowledge that the tape had been released, and presumably neither did our attorneys. The record in this matter will reflect that the BBOE was advised by our attorneys to review the tape in executive session. Had our attorneys known that the tapes had already been publically disseminated, there would have been no legal basis for an executive session. In 2013, the BBOE held the Carmen Perez-Dickson hearing in public, at the request of Mrs. Perez-Dickson. We expected the public hearing would be public. Only after our attorneys advised us that the videos disclosed the images of two children and that public viewing would violate confidentiality laws, did the board view the tape in executive session. Had we known that our school district had already released the tapes to the parents, we would have no reason to take that action. The members of the BBOE who heard this case worked in good faith and diligently for nearly six months. We painstakingly listened to testimony, viewed the video and read and re-read transcripts. We did all this in an effort to craft a decision which would be based on facts, not on emotion, fiction, or character assassination. To have that decision criticized and undermined by a staff member, in violation of our board policy, while litigation is pending, is inexcusable. I expect that you will immediately inform Dr. Kase that she is to make no further comments on this matter to anyone, particularly members of the press. That she chose to make these comments at a staged press conference is inexcusable and requires immediate action on your part. Please be available to discuss this matter tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM. Sincerely, Sauda Efia Baraka, Chair Bridgeport Board of Education

From: "Baraka, Sauda" <sbaraka@bridgeportedu.net> Date: February 24, 2014 at 10:55:17 AM EST To: "Vallas, Paul" <pvallas@bridgeportedu.net> Subject: RE: Public Communications -- BBOE (Perez-Dickson) Dear Mr. Vallas, I am responding to our telephone conversation where you stated that you "divorce" yourself from these issues. You stated that the new Superintendent could take action on these matters. I am appalled as the Bridgeport Board of Eduction continues to pay your salary through the end of the month and you were the Superintendent of record during the course of this case. You stated that Dr. Kase acted on her own and that there was "no press conference," though I explained that she was seated at a table, in what looked like an office, with microphones set up (staged in my estimation). You stated that you did not give her the authority, or permission to speak to the press, but that the "press showed up at the door and she decided to meet with them." You stated that you agreed with how she responded, though you admitted that you did not view the interview, and that if any action is to be taken the "new Superintendent" can take it. You stated that you are "through with it." At no time did you acknowledge failure to follow or violation our board policy. With respect to the Channel 12 news report, you stated that you "asked your staff" and no one gave the parent(s) the tape. I asked if you would investigate it and you stated that you had and when I asked what action steps you took, you lunged into a tirade, refusing to respond to the questions asked, other than to declare the new Superintendent can take any action the board requests. I take your abrupt and disrespectful termination of our conversation, when you hung up the phone while I was talking, to be your refusal to exercise your due diligence and job duties and responsibilities, and that you have no regard for our board policies. Sincerely, Sauda Efia Baraka, Chair Bridgeport Board of Education

From: Vallas, Paul Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 2:27 PM To: Baraka, Sauda Subject: RE: Public Communications -- BBOE (Perez-Dickson) Ms. Baraka, You failed to appear for this mornings 10:00 a.m. meeting in my office, which you demanded of me in your correspondence dated February 23, 2014, with all Board members ccd. You have not only failed to provide me with an explanation for your absence at the meeting you requested and for which I cleared my schedule, you now deliberately mischaracterize the phone conversation which you initiated in the alternative. Just as I refused to be drawn by you into an ongoing argument over the telephone, I now refuse to dignify your self-serving and erroneous claims regarding said conversation. However, I am more than willing to set the record straight on the overarching issues you raise. As a threshold issue, I am not surprised at your displeasure with the extensive and arguably negative media coverage that has resulted from the boards misguided decision of October 30, 2013, with regard to the continued BPS employment of Carmen Perez Dickson. The experienced and skilled administrators of this district who are charged with the responsibility of running the Bridgeport Public Schools on a day-to-day basis, and with whom the ultimate responsibility for our childrens safety lies, made numerous strong recommendations to the Board that Ms. Dicksons employment be terminated. These recommendations were made based on years of experience in school operations, after a review of the tapes in which children were inappropriately touched, with consideration of the employment history of Ms. Dickson, and mindful of the potential for litigation from various directions. That said, with regard to our recommendation and our still unwavering opinion with respect to that recommendation, the safety of our children and comfort level of our parents were our primary guiding principles. These principles always guide this administration, and this case was no different. May I remind you that even the President of the Bridgeport Education Association expressed disappointment with the Boards narrow decision to retain Ms. Dickson. If you need to refresh your memory, please see his statement to the Connecticut Post on November 7, 2013. However, and against all advice to the contrary, the Boards decision is now one that it must live with. It does not matter in the least who physically released the tapes to the parents of the children touched by Ms. Dickson. The Connecticut Department of Children and Family Services advised BPS that the affected families are entitled to the tapes, and it is apparent that my staff simply complied with this directive. Thus, as I stated on the telephone this morning, I refuse to conduct a witch hunt for the particular person who merely fulfilled a directive from a state agency, simply because some on the Board are now uncomfortable with the media attention they are receiving as a result of what it was warned would be at the very least a controversial decision, if not a highly unpopular course of action. This is my stated position and I will not deviate from my stance. I did state to you that if the incoming interim superintendent prefers to address this differently in the weeks or months to come, I obviously would have no control over that. This is in no way any dereliction of my duties or disregard for any policy. Further, please make a note for the record that although I personally, and we at the Central office collectively, disagreed with the Boards vote in this case, there have been no media

comments after our initial reaction under questioning to the Boards vote in October, 2013. The Boards decision has been respected. If the parents in now possession of the tapes, as of November 2013, as is their apparent right, choose to release them to the media, or to use them in litigation, or for any other purpose, that is out of our control. With regard to your expressed "outrage" with Dr. Kase, a press conference is defined as a pre-arranged interview with the media, designed to elicit publicity. Press conferences are scheduled in advance, generally preceded by an alert or invitation to the media, and commonly accompanied by a written press release, so that any media unable to personally attend the event may have access to the information. BPS did not engage in any of these activities. Rather, my staff was also taken by surprise when the parents released the tapes and the media bombardment ensued. Rather than spend her taxpayer compensated time doing one media interview after another, in lieu of tending to her district responsibilities, Dr. Kase merely collectively addressed the media gathered in our offices. I support this decision and additionally note that nothing was said in her remarks that were out of line with the opinions previously expressed by this office, or even by the BEA, with regard to the Boards action concerning Ms. Dickson. In fact, the bulk of the questions and response concerned matters are easily available in the public record. As exhibited by my professional execution of the rescue of a district in crisis over these past two years, including the recent finalization of a fully funded three year collective bargaining agreement without school closings or mass layoffs, it is indisputable that I have every regard for my duties and responsibilities as superintendent. That includes these final days of my tenure. However, engaging in a shouting match over the phone, rather than what should have been a civil face-to-face meeting in my office to strategize what is best for the students and families of this district, is not among them. There was simply no point in continuing a highly unproductive conversation, given your tone. In my opinion, unless the Board desires to revisit the underlying decision that is the topic of this controversy, which we would support, there is nothing more to discuss with regard to this matter. Sincerely, Paul G. Vallas Superintendent, Bridgeport Public Schools

From: Baraka, Sauda Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 3:54 PM To: Vallas, Paul Subject: FW: Public Communications -- BBOE (Perez-Dickson) Greetings, Your email response is a combination of misinformation, false statements and is highly offensive and inflammatory to the members of the BBOE members who worked extensively to reach a decision, whether it is one you and your staff agrees with; but be assured that the BBOE is the policy and decision makers, not the staff. Your response to any decision made by the BBOE is to carrying it out, not take pot shots as was done by your direct report Dr. Kase. Your responsibility is not to hold pertinent information from the BBOE for any reason. Your responsibility to provide a transparent flow of communication, per policy 2000 and the job description of the Bridgeport Board of Education Superintendent. Though you are on your way out and possibly on to another "public service job" recognize, understand and be aware of the word public. This is not the private sector where unilateral decisions can be made. This is not an oligarchy, this district operates under the democratic principles where the public is just that the public. First, I did not state I would come to your office, what I stated wass, "Please be available to discuss this matter tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM" and I called you at 10am. I have familiar responsibilities and am not always available for meetings, therefore I asked you to be available. As you know our BBOE positions are volunteer for which we receive no compensation. Second, I take offense at your description of the board's decision as "misguided" given the amount of time each BBOE member committed for nearly six (6) months, and having to filter through the dishonesty that you and your staff exhibited when testifying and now finding that someone within the district gave the parents the videos in November in response to "the Connecticut Department of Children and Family Services advised BPS that the affected families are entitled to the tapes, and it is apparent that my staff simply complied with this directive." I would like to you to provide this board with who responded to that request and where is the correspondence requesting that we provide the parents with the tapes, and why weren't the attorneys informed? Based on your response in this email, it is clear that you have no regard for the Bridgeport Board of Education policies. As you explain in your email regarding Dr. Kase's impromptu response to the onslaught of media and the quote, a pre-arranged interview with the media, designed to elicit publicity (which I did not say or write) those are your words, my words are: "To have that decision criticized and undermined by a staff member, in violation of our board policy, while litigation is pending, is inexcusable. I expect that you will immediately inform Dr. Kase that she is to make no further comments on this matter to anyone, particularly members of the press." Finally, Mr. Vallas, your words: "I am not surprised at your displeasure with the extensive and arguably negative media coverage that has resulted from the boards misguided decision of October 30, 2013, with regard to the continued BPS employment of Carmen Perez Dickson."

I never expressed any displeasure at the media coverage, as I understand they are doing their job, selling news, but violation of our policy is my issue with you, and you were asked to address, along with identifying who released tapes without going through the proper channels. It is disconcerting that you would believe that concocting this tale is best way to handle the violation of our board policies. Sincerely, Sauda Efia Baraka, Chair Bridgeport Board of Education

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