|Bridgeport Board of Education, At-large|
|Years in position||10|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 5, 2013|
|First elected||November 2005|
|Bachelor's||Florida A&M University|
|Master's||Florida A&M University|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Elections
- 3 What was at stake?
- 4 About the district
- 5 Recent news
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 References
Baraka earned a B.S. in History and African American Studies from Florida A&M University in 1978. She later earned a Master's degree in Applied Social Sciences from Florida A&M University in 1979. Baraka worked for 22 years as a probation officer with the State of Connecticut before retirement. She currently serves as quality assurance director for the Believe in Me Empowerment Corporation.
Baraka won re-election to the board against seven other candidates for five available seats on November 5, 2013. She received the endorsement of the Working Families Party along with Andre Baker, Jr. and Eric Stewart-Alicea in August 2013.
|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|
Baraka was endorsed by The Connecticut Post on October 27, 2013.
Sauda Baraka 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 Steve Best, John Weldon 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 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 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.
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. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Sauda + Baraka + Bridgeport + Schools"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- LinkedIn, "Sauda Efia Baraka," accessed October 7, 2013
- Connecticut Post, "Baker, Baraka and Larcheveque for school board," October 27, 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
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014