Bridgeport: Education and Research
Elementary and Secondary Schools
Although in the late 1990s, the city announced investments of $250 million for modern buildings, classes for universal preschool, smaller classroom sizes, and broader access to computers and the Internet; by 2005 these initiatives had yet to materialize. The school district has suffered as a result with six buildings that are over a century old and 14 others at more than 50 years old. Further, the Board of Education was forced to trim its annual budget by 10 percent, or about $4.5 million, in the 2004–2005 fiscal year.
Bridgeport's public school system offers special education and handicapped services, as well as an adult education program in the evening. A magnet school program offers special opportunities for above-average students. The system includes two alternative schools and one special education facility.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Bridgeport public school system as of the 2003–2004 school year.
Total enrollment: 22,730
Number of facilities
elementary/middle schools: 30
senior high schools: 3
Student/teacher ratio: 14.7 (2003–2004)
Teacher salaries (2003–2004) minimum: $38,604 maximum: $72,440
Funding per pupil: $5,909 (2004–2005)
Many parochial elementary schools and one parochial high school supplement the public school system. Private nursery schools, technical schools, and the college-preparatory University (High) School round out the city's education offerings for children.
Public Schools Information: Bridgeport Public Schools, 45 Lyon Terrace, Rm. 203, Bridgeport, CT 06604; telephone (203)576-7301; fax (203)576-8488
Colleges and Universities
Founded in 1927, the University of Bridgeport—with about 3,200 undergraduate and around 1,500 graduate students—offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in liberal arts and professional fields and includes the only program in chiropractic and naturopathic medicine in the state. Sacred Heart University, a Catholic liberal arts college in Fairfield, enrolls 4,300 undergraduate and 1,800 graduate students and represents New England's second largest Catholic university. Fairfield University, a Jesuit institution, provides its 5,000 students with bachelor's and master's degrees with a concentration on liberal arts, education, and nursing. Bridgeport Engineering Institute in Stamford employs a work-study approach in awarding engineering degrees. Housatonic Community College trains many of the area's semiprofessional and technical workers. St. Vincent's College, a two-year co-ed facility, offers degrees in health care fields and initiated an online distance education program in the fall of 2005.
Libraries and Research Centers
With nearly 450,000 volumes and four locations, Bridge-port's is one of the largest library systems in the state. The library also has about 880 audiotapes, around 16,500 video materials, and 1,000 periodical subscriptions. Special collections include an extensive business and technology section and a collection of local history, with a focus on P.T. Barnum and circus memorabilia. The library's special interests also include art and architecture, and literature. It is a federal depository for U.S. Government publications.
Other local library facilities include the law library of the State of Connecticut (Bridgeport Branch), and two medical libraries. The Magnus Wahlstrom Library at the University of Bridgeport houses approximately 270,000 volumes along with one million microforms, 1,200 serials, and access to about 7,400 electronic books via online subscriptions. Other research and library facilities in Bridgeport include the Center for the Study of Aging at the University of Bridgeport, and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families' Library. The Connecticut Information Technology Institute, also at the university, is a joint venture between industry and education to help inventors and entrepreneurs in high-tech operations.
Public Library Information: Bridgeport Public Library, 925 Broad St., Bridgeport, CT 06604-4871; telephone (203)576-7403
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