Bridgeport Public Schools and teachers union agree to new contract
Bridgeport Public Schools and Bridgeport Education Association agreed to a new, four-year contract months before the current deal was set to expire.
The deal passed with an 85% majority vote among the union. It includes a 17% raise over four years and doubles FMLA time. That brings a Bridgeport teacher's starting salary to nearly double.
Bridgeport Education Association president Jeff Morrissey and Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carmela Levy-David said both sides were pleased with the new agreement.
"We're looking at a lot of things that hadn't changed in many years, and that were due for change. It was historic in many ways," said Morrissey.
The Bridgeport Education Association and Bridgeport Public Schools came to a four-year contract agreement before arbitration for the first time in 35 years.
"There's a huge, huge level of excitement. That, for us, is a win," said Levy-David.
Even as valuable pandemic-era funding ends, both sides found a way to compromise.
"In 1997, I was making $26,000 a year. I remember my parents used to have to write me a check every month to help me pay my bills. I don't want our teachers in that situation," said Levy-David.
Levy-David said this will give Bridgeport schools the opportunity to be competitive with local districts.
"You do have to stand your ground on certain things, but compromise is important. It was very cordial," Morrissey said. "There wasn't a lot of back and forth, there wasn't a lot of angst."
With a new superintendent and a new union president calling the shots, both hope it's the beginning of a bright future.