Mike Barbis is a valuable member of Norwalk’s Board of Education. With 99 percent of the staff at Norwalk Public Schools having union representatives looking out for them, Mike Barbis is the consistently strong, vocal and unvarnished advocate for the rest of us–those students, parents and taxpayers who have only ourselves and the BOE to protect our interests.
Norwalk public schools have experienced major demographic shifts in the last 6 years. Today there’s about 400 less Black and 800 less white students than in 2013 while the Hispanic population has grown by nearly 1,600 students. The Norwalk school district is changing more than its growing. These changes have created uncertainty and anxiety among various constituencies within the city.
What you witnessed Tuesday evening is some of that uncertainty and anxiety. What you’re also witnessing is a Democratic Town Committee and Rilling campaign tactic that has come back to haunt them. Wanting to win the election at all costs, they repeatedly used race as a weapon to silence and smear. Leaking a 5-month-old email to the media 2 days before an election did nothing but fuel divisiveness and anger. The leadership to question should not be Mike Barbis, but rather a DTC and Mayor’s office that chose deflection rather than transparency and proactive leadership on issues of such importance to Norwalk and its residents.
Mike Barbis is hardworking, knowledgeable and passionate. He’s human. He can be intemperate, especially with people who can be intemperate themselves, but he is not a racist. Mike Barbis should not heed these calls for resignation, he is very much needed on Norwalk’s Board of Education.
Former Norwalk Board of Education member