The School Volunteer Association of Bridgeport, Inc. has a long and unique history with the Bridgeport Board of Education. SVAB’s circumstances changed dramatically in June, 2018, when the Bridgeport Board of Education removed the two staff positions of the School Volunteer Office at the last minute of the budget adoption for 2018-2019. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3), SVAB has historically raised money to cover program expenses while the BOE has paid the salaries of the two staff in the School Volunteer Office. The work of SVAB simply cannot occur within the schools without these positions. Fortunately, SVAB had enough money in reserve to make a restrictive donation to the BOE to fund these positions for the 2018-2019 school year and quickly made the decision to do so. The Board of Directors also formed a Strategic Planning Committee which spent the ensuing year working diligently on advocating for the organization within the BOE, City of Bridgeport and State of CT as well as significantly increasing its fund raising efforts.
Unfortunately, the BOE is faced with yet another year of significant budget cuts and is unable to reinstate the positions for 2019-2020. Notably, the BOE has had to cut approximately $50 million from the annual budgets since the 2016-2017 school year, inclusive of 2019-2020. The losses to the Bridgeport Public Schools have been devastating, making the services of the SVAB volunteers even more important in providing support and enriching opportunities in the schools.
Fortunately, the organization’s fund raising efforts were quite successful, and SVAB is able to make a restrictive donation to the BOE for the salaries of the two positions in the School Volunteer Office for a second year. The Board of Directors has been deeply touched by the support the organization has received from our champions, who have donated generously and made significant new connections which have helped to move our work forward. The organization has resumed work on a long range plan to assure that the organization will thrive well into the future.