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TMCNet:  School superintendents' group expresses support for Connecticut education commissioner [New Haven Register, Conn.]

[December 12, 2013]

School superintendents' group expresses support for Connecticut education commissioner [New Haven Register, Conn.]

(New Haven Register (CT) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 13--NEW HAVEN -- The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents Board of Directors unanimously voted Thursday against sending out a drafted letter regarding the state Department of Education and refuted any implication that the contents of the letter reflected the views of the organization.


News of the draft "Statement to the Commissioner" was reported Thursday on Jon Pelto's blog "Wait, What?" Pelto, a former state representative, reported the draft to include three main areas of concern: operation of the superintendents' association, actions of state education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and the pace of reform efforts. Pelto also reported issues that superintendents allegedly have with the Education Department, including the inability of the department to communicate in a timely manner, dissemination of incorrect information from the department and unreasonable deadlines. The report also mentioned several superintendents being in support of a vote of no confidence in Pryor.

The state board issued a statement Thursday rejecting "any implication of a no confidence vote regarding the Commissioner." "CAPSS is extremely concerned at this inference and will work hard to repair any damage that has been done to the relationship between the organization and the Commissioner," the statement said.

CAPSS Executive Director Joseph Cirasuolo said it is "regretful" the document was distributed publicly.

"We've got very good ongoing communication and collaboration with the commissioner and the department, so there's no concerns as you can see from the statement the board made," he said.

Pryor said in a statement, "We are highly grateful for the CAPSS board's unanimous statement of support.

"CAPSS and Connecticut's superintendents are pivotal partners and we very much appreciate this affirming vote," he said. "The process of strengthening public education can, at times, be complex and challenging, but this work is vital for the success of our students and our state. We will continue to collaborate closely with superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders in order to review, revise, enhance, and advance our collective efforts." Cirasuolo said the document was a result of a committee that was put together to hear concerns from superintendents, and write down and evaluate them.

"You gather what you hear and then you go through a process of sorting it out; no definite decision was made, and as you can see, the Board of Directors rejected the statement," he said.

New Haven Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries said he hasn't seen the draft letter but from his experience, Pryor and the department work respectively and attentively with the districts, accepting feedback and suggestions.

"Stefan and the department he's leading have been attentive, consistent and willing to take feedback," he said.

Harries said Pryor's urgency around education reform is "appropriate." "There's no question he's leading change and the change is putting public school districts outside of their comfort zones," Harries said.

Cirasuolo said he has been with the association since 1979 and it is part of CAPSS' job to communicate any concerns of superintendents have about commissioners and that the commissioners are always responsive. He said expressing things in the manner portrayed by the letter is "not who we are." "My only hope is that people will concentrate on the press release of the board of directors and not was released on the blog," he said.

Call Rachel Chinapen at 203 789 5714. Have questions, feedback or ideas about our news coverage? Connect directly with New Haven Register editors at AskTheRegister.com ___ (c)2013 the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.) Visit the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.) at www.nhregister.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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