David Burnell

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David Burnell
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Candidate for
Bridgeport Board of Education, At-large
Elections and appointments
Next generalNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sSacred Heart University
Master'sSacred Heart University
ProfessionAdjunct professor
David Burnell is a Republican candidate for an at-large seat on the Bridgeport Board of Education. He is seeking election to the board against seven other candidates on November 5, 2013.


Burnell earned a B.S. in Business Management from Sacred Heart University in 1996. He later earned a M.B.A. in Strategic Management from Sacred Heart University in 2000 and a M.S. in Quality Management from the National Graduate University in 2009. Burnell has been an adjunct professor in quality management at the University of Bridgeport since 2007.[1]



See also: Bridgeport Public Schools elections (2013)

Burnell is seeking election to the board against seven other candidates for five available seats on November 5, 2013. He earned the Republican Party endorsement in the election alaong with fellow challengers Joe Larcheveque and John Weldon.

What's at stake

Democratic incumbents Leticia Colon, Thomas Mulligan, Jr. and Bobby Simmons did not file for re-election in 2013. The Democratic primary yielded a slate including Andre Baker, Jr., Dave Hennessey and Howard Gardner that was not endorsed by the party's town committee.[2] The Bridgeport Republican Town Committee selected Burnell, John Weldon and Joe Larcheveque as their candidates for the board.[3] The Working Families Party is seeking to retain two seats and pick up a Democratic seat and endorsed Eric Stewart-Alicea and Sauda Baraka as well as Democratic candidate Baker.[4]


Board relations with Mayor Finch

The main issue in the Bridgeport Board of Education elections in 2013 is the relationship between the board, Democratic Mayor Bill Finch and Superintendent Paul Vallas. Finch has been criticized for his efforts to orchestrate a state takeover of the school board by the state in July 2011. The mayor argued that conflict on the board prevented reforms necessary to improve test scores and reduce budget deficits.[5] This effort allowed the state to appoint new board members and appoint education reformer Paul Vallas as superintendent. In February 2012, the Connecticut State Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that the state takeover was unconstitutional and resumed local control over schools. Five members of the board who were replaced by state appointees were reinstated after the ruling and four new members were elected during a special election in spring 2012. The Democratic and Working Families candidates in the 2013 election hope to take all five available seats to counter reform efforts by Finch, Vallas and current board members.

Board relations with Superintendent Vallas

Paul Vallas was appointed by the state as Superintendent of Bridgeport Public Schools in January 2012. Vallas, a former school administrator in New Orleans and Chicago, has been criticized for budget cuts as well as excessive testing. Critics like board member Sauda Baraka have focused on the use of standardized testing every six weeks and resource deprivation in the classroom as reasons to oust Vallas. Supporters including Mayor Finch note that the district has closed a budget deficit and placed local schools on the right path. The Democratic and Working Families slates in the 2013 election are vocal opponents of Vallas.[6] Vallas is currently serving under a three-year contract approved by a majority of board members in 2013 that opponents are challenging in state court.[7]

About the district

See also: Bridgeport Public Schools, Connecticut
Bridgeport Public Schools is located in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Bridgeport Public Schools is located in Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut and the county seat for Fairfield County. Bridgeport is located along the Long Island Sound with the Pequonnock River cutting through the downtown district. The population of Bridgeport was 60,477 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[8]


Bridgeport lags behind the rest of Connecticut based on median income and higher education achievement while outperforming the state poverty rate. The 2010 U.S. Census found the median income in Bridgeport was $60,032 while the state median income was $69,243. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (21.7%) was lower than the state average (35.7%). The city's poverty rate was 8.2% compared to the state's 9.5% poverty rate.[8]

Racial Demographics, 2010[8]
Race Bridgeport (%) Connecticut (%)
White 87.7 77.6
Black or African American 3.8 10.1
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.2 0.3
Asian 1.9 3.8
Two or More Races 2.5 2.6
Hispanic or Latino 9.6 13.4

Presidential Voting Pattern[9]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 85.7 13.8
2008 83.5 16
2004 70.7 27.8
2000 72.7 22.1

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[10]

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