Dear Editor,

Like Bridgeport Schools, I have been waiting for the right moment.

As an employee (bus driver) of Bridgeport School, I’d like to inform everyone just how much we earn there, or is it how little?

The Bridgeport School District is in excellent standing. A recently re-elected school board member gave out the District’s standing. As an alumni or a parent of children enrolled in Bridgeport Schools, this makes you feel good. The election sign of a board member said, “Why mess with success?” It seems like a nice place to work, and it is. As a bus driver we work 180 days per year. The day of course is split with a morning and afternoon routes. There are extra trips (ball games and such). We must be ready to go at all times in case of an emergency or a weather related problem.

A person should not seek employment in the school system unless they truly enjoy children. We are charged with a great responsibility. We are certified in safe driving and must possess a Commercial Driver License. We are trained in first aid, CPR, and carry the responsibility for the safety of each and every child. it is a very rewarding job, except it doesn’t pay much. We are the lowest paid of any school district in Belmont County. This is not about sour grapes.

As our union (Bridgeport Association of Classified Employees) approaches contract negotiations, we are told “there is no money for a raise.” Bridgeport Schools recently entered a natural gas lease agreement on 18 plus acres of land owned by the school for $7,000 an acre with 20 percent royalty rights. Superintendent Ted Downing said, “It’s a great thing for the district” and with that, “Hopefully we’ll be able to do bigger and better things.” Well, Ted, “How about a raise?” The success of our school is not only because of the school board, the property and administrative staff … it is also because of the employees!!! Everything that is asked of us we strive to do the best we can. The regulations that are set for us, we meet and exceed. Our neighboring school districts make as much as $5 more an hour than we do. It is amazing how the board always finds money for some, but very little for others. I do not want to sound like a whiner or crier. I could go somewhere else to drive bus; but, I and my entire family are alumni of Bridgeport Schools and I am proud to be a Bulldog! I guess it’s a sense of loyalty, but the Board of Education and Superintendent Ted Downing need to understand that loyalty works both ways!

Dan Lofton