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Malloy’s cut to Norwalk 2018 funding prompts ‘concern’

A chart prepared by Norwalk Finance Director Bob Barron summarizes the effects of an executive order signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy on Norwalk’s 2018, should the legislature fail to come up with a state budget.

Updated, 2 a.m., Thursday: Norwalk’s funding this year would be cut, if a state budget is not approved. Updated, 2:20 p.m. Tuesday: Comment from the Connecticut School Finance Project added to explain the reasons for differing estimates.  

NORWALK, Conn. – Budget cuts made by Gov. Dannel Malloy would subtract $5.3 million from Norwalk’s bottom line next year, should the legislature fail to reverse them, Norwalk Finance Director Bob Barron said.

The Connecticut School Finance Project pegged that figure at closer to $7 million. While Barron expressed confidence that the legislature will pass a budget that is dramatically different than the one ordered by Malloy, Norwalk Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons was less sanguine.

“We budgeted level funding from last year; thus, this cut goes right to our bottom line, and would blast our budget to pieces – layoffs and major program cuts would be inevitable,” Lyons said in a Tuesday email. “I don’t really care what rationalization anyone tries to come up with to justify the Governor’s executive order — a 40% cut to Norwalk’s school funding, when we’re already grossly underfunded to begin with ($23 million per year, according to CCJEF {Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding}), would be unconscionable.”

On June 30, after the legislature failed to come up with a two-year budget, Malloy signed an executive order to keep the state in business, funding state government operations while budget negotiations continue. The Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan included a $4.4 million cut to Norwalk’s education funding in 2018, under the category Education Cost Sharing (ECS).

On Monday, Connecticut School Finance Project Director and Founder Katie Roy alerted the public to “significant changes to state education funding, including a $506 million cut to the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant.”

“The deep cuts to education funding, as well as the cuts to municipal aid and other important services, contained in the Executive Order are a product of Connecticut’s $2.3 billion deficit for fiscal year 2018, as well as the fact that the governor does not have the authority to use an executive order to raise additional revenues or appropriate funds outside of what is allowed in state statute,” Roy wrote.

The group’s projected education funding cut for Norwalk in 2018 is $6,984,781.

“While the Resource Allocation Plan covers all of fiscal year 2018, the legislature can pass a budget at any time, which, when signed by the governor, would supersede the Executive Order,” Roy wrote.

The order also notes a $1.7 million payment to Norwalk in November.

“The $1.7 million is a problem for the City, because the City had anticipated a total of $10,095,000 in ECS funding for the year, and normally 25% comes in by November 1st,” Lyons said in a Wednesday email. “So, $1.7 million represents a cut to the City.  In addition, it is a problem for the BOE, because the Governor’s Executive order completely eliminates the Alliance District Grant, which we had anticipated would be $1.1 million this year.”

NancyOnNorwalk asked Mayor Harry Rilling last week what he thought about Malloy’s executive order.

“We are very concerned about the potential loss of a significant amount of our ECS funding,” Rilling wrote in his Thursday email. “As we have stated many times in the past, Norwalk is significantly underfunded by the ECS program so this amount being cut is of major concern.  I remain hopeful that the legislature will pass a budget quickly so our funding can be restored.  This is a very challenging and difficult time for our municipalities as we count on funding from the state when we develop our own budgets.  When we develop those budgets, anticipated state funding is factored in.  When state funding is later removed, it becomes problematic.”

“Most people – the Governor included – agree that it is not in the best interest of the state for him to be solely responsible for managing the budget,” State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) said in a Friday email. “That’s why I am committed to continuing to work toward a long term solution to move Connecticut forward and ensure that ECS payments are made to school districts.”

Barron on Tuesday said he agreed with Rilling’s concern about the potential loss of a significant amount of ECS funding and the hope that the legislature will pass a budget quickly that makes those cuts unnecessary.

Malloy’s executive order “listed only six statutory grants and showed Norwalk losing $5.3 million in FYE 2018 compared to what the state actually gave the city in FYE 2017,” Barron wrote.

“It should be noted that the city also received grants of $402,915 for Grants for Municipal Projects and $894,294 for Town Aid Road in FYE 2017 that were not addressed in the Governor’s Executive Order,” Barron wrote. “In the absence of an approved state budget the Governor issued an Executive Order to ensure funds are available to maintain essential services and satisfy obligations that are critical to the functioning of the state.  I’m confident that the numbers in the above Executive Order along with other statutory grants for the City of Norwalk will change dramatically when the final state budget is adopted.”

Connecticut School Finance Project Director of Communications Michael Morton on Wednesday offered a clarification on the difference between Barron’s estimated $5.3 million cut and the project’s estimate of nearly $7 million.

“Our analysis, which estimated Norwalk would receive $6,984,781 less in state education funding under the governor’s Executive Order, does not include any of the funding for Adult Education, Municipal Revenue Sharing, Mashantucket Pequot & Mohegan Grant, or PILOT that Mr. Barron included in his chart that you posted with your article. However, while Mr. Barron only included ECS funding for Norwalk in the chart, our estimate of a $6,984,781 cut in state education funding for Norwalk includes the cut to ECS funding as well cuts made in the Executive Order to all state education grants to municipalities that exceeded $10 million in total grant allocation in fiscal year 2017,” Morton wrote in an email.

The state uncertainty has caused anxiety among Norwalk parents, including the founder of the Facebook page, Norwalk Parents for Education.

Barbara Meyer Mitchell, who is vying for a Democratic BoE candidacy, said, “Not sure what we citizens can do. It’s like watching a tsunami roll towards you in slow motion.”

malloy 20170626_Executive_Order_Resource_Allocation_Plan_1

Malloy EO_58_Budget

CT Finance Project Executive-Order-Resource-Allocation-Plan-Analysis

3 comments

Just Another Norwalk Voter July 12, 2017 at 9:04 am

Write to the Senate Majority Leader and our State Senator Bob Duff to thank him for all his hard work this year – leading to pass a State budget, fixing the State’s education funding formula and ensuring his constituents and Norwalk residents get their fair share of State funding. Thanks Bob for standing up for us once again!

Sad July 12, 2017 at 10:01 am

While Bob Duff is busy meddling in local politics within our school system (“Fix it First”), they are stealing money from Norwalk’s kids behind his back.

If this goes through, it shows just how absolutely useless Bob has been in Hartford.

A Democratic controlled, majority led and we still get shafted.

Rick July 12, 2017 at 10:40 pm

undocumented workers now can do many things

– Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) bill removing barriers to employment by reforming the state’s occupational license laws was signed into law this week

Above-Ground Swimming Pool Installer, Uniform Student Athlete Agents, Licensed Shorthand Reporters, Itinerant Vendors License, Wholesaler’s Salesman Certificate, Residential Flat Glass or Automotive Glazier, and Real Estate Intern.

This information was taken from Nancy herself

The translation was by me.

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NancyOnNorwwalk.com was conceived as the place to go for Norwalk residents to get the real, unvarnished story about what is going on in and around their city. NancyOnNorwalk does not intend to be a print newspaper online; rather, it exists to pull the curtain back and shine a spotlight on how Norwalk is run and what is happening regarding issues that have an impact on taxpayers’ pocketbooks and safety. As an independent site, NancyOnNorwalk’s first and only allegiance is to the reader.

About Nancy

Nancy came to Norwalk in September 2010 and, after reporting on Norwalk for two years for another company, resigned to begin Nancy On Norwalk so she engage in journalism the way it was meant to be done. She is married to career journalist Mark Chapman, has a son, Eric (the artist and web designer who built this website), and two cats – a middle-aged lady and a young hottie who are learning how to peacefully co-exist.