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|Bridgeport Board of Education, At-large|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 5, 2013|
|Bachelor's||University of Bridgeport|
Weldon earned his undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Bridgeport. He has worked since 2010 as a grants and procurement manager with Greater Bridgeport Transit.
Weldon lost 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 along with fellow challengers Steve Best and Joe Larcheveque.
|Bridgeport Public Schools, General Election, 4-year term, 2013|
|Democratic||Andre Baker, Jr.||15.3%||714|
|Working Families||Eric Stewart-Alicea||4.2%||194|
|Working Families||Sauda Baraka Incumbent||4%||186|
|Working Families||Andre Baker, Jr.||3.6%||167|
|Source: Connecticut Secretary of State, "Municipal Elections - November 5, 2013," accessed December 16, 2013|
John Weldon reported no contributions or expenditures to the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission.
What was 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. Although the candidates were not endorsed by the party's town committee, all three won election to the board. The Bridgeport Republican Town Committee selected Weldon, Steve Best and Joe Larcheveque as their candidates for the board. Weldon was the only Republican pick to not win election to the board. The Working Families Party sought to retain two seats and pick up a Democratic seat by endorsing incumbent Sauda Baraka and Eric Stewart-Alicea, as well as Democratic candidate Baker. Neither Baraka nor Stewart-Alicea won election to the board.
Board relations with Mayor Finch
The main issue during the Bridgeport Board of Education elections in 2013 was 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. 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 had hoped to take all five available seats to counter reform efforts by Finch, Vallas and current board members. However, two seats were picked up by Republican candidates Joe Larcheveque and Steve Best.
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 candidates in the 2013 election were vocal opponents of Vallas. Vallas is currently serving under a three-year contract approved by a majority of board members in 2013 which opponents are challenging in state court.
About the district
- See also: Bridgeport Public Schools, Connecticut
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.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "John + Weldon + Bridgeport + Schools"
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- LinkedIn, "John Weldon," Accessed October 7, 2013
- Connecticut Post, "Challengers win school board primary," September 11, 2013
- CT News, "Plenty willing to join the Bridgeport BOE fray," July 25, 2013
- CT News, "Working Families Party picks BOE slate," August 10, 2013
- New York Times, "State to Appoint New Board of Education in Bridgeport," July 6, 2011
- Chicago Sun-Times, "Paul Vallas, former Chicago school chief, fighting to keep his latest job," September 21, 2013
- Connecticut Post, "School board results all about the mayor," September 12, 2013
- U.S. Census, "Quick Facts: Bridgeport," Accessed October 24, 2013
- Connecticut Secretary of State, "Election Results," Accessed October 4, 2013