Bridgeport Board of Education superintendent proposes split from charter school group FUSE

Bridgeport's Board of Education held a special meeting Thursday evening to address the district's partnership with a controversial charter school group.

Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz has decided to sever ties with the charter group Family Urban Schools of Excellence, or FUSE. The group runs the Dunbar School in the Bridgeport School District as part of a special partnership with the state.

FUSE is currently under fire both locally and at the state level. District officials say former Dunbar employee Mack Allen was hired despite having a criminal record and being registered as a sex offender in Texas.

Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz says the issue creates a security problem at the school.

Allen's supporters said at the meeting that Allen was always open about his past and part of the FUSE model is that they give people a second chance. They also said Allen did a good job at Dunbar School.

Bridgeport Board of Education member Kenneth Moales Jr. says scrutiny surrounding Allen may send a bad message to the rest of the city. "To suggest in some way that we're not hiring felons in this city is sending a message that almost 40 to 50 or even 60 percent of this population will never get another chance," he said.

Moving forward, the superintendent says she wants to sever ties with FUSE, thus bringing Dunbar School under the full control of the Bridgeport Public School System.

The proposal needs to be decided by the Board of Education, but they have not voted on it yet. It will then go to the state education commissioner, who will have the final decision.

Rabinowitz says there will be a meeting next week to catch parents up on what is going on.

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