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Norwalk education roundup: ECS, NHS colors and Adamowski ‘dirt’

Screenshot from a drone video showing Norwalk High School’s exterior paint job. (Trevor Cooper, IG @Photography_by_Trevor)

Updated, 10:09 a.m., 7:01 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s some education news of note:

  • An analysis of ECS funding changes: $400,000 increase this year
  • Norwalk High School’s ‘new colors look amazing’ in drone video
  • What’s that in the Superintendent’s parking space?

 

Drone video of new Norwalk High School exterior, by Trevor Cooper, posted below

 

‘New School Year Brings a New ECS Formula’

“The start of the 2018-19 school year also marks the beginning of Connecticut using a new Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula to distribute approximately $2 billion in state education aid to local public school districts,” according to a Monday email from Katie Roy of the Connecticut School Finance Project.

Roy spoke about the funding changes in January at a Norwalk forum; Monday’s email offers a statistical analysis town-by-town of the changes.

First this explanation from Roy: “While funding for the ECS grant increased $88.5 million for FY 2019 (compared to the grant’s FY 2018 funding level after budget holdbacks), the new ECS formula will be phased in over ten years, meaning districts will not receive their full funding — according to the formula — until FY 2028.”

Now, the Norwalk stats:

  • 2018: estimated ECS grant $11,050,993
  • 2019: estimated ECS grant $11,453,362; estimated change from FY18 ECS with holdbacks, $402,369; grant phase in schedule 4 percent
  • 2020: estimated ECS grant $11,949,029; estimated change from FY18 ECS with holdbacks, $898,036; grant phase in schedule 15 percent
  • 2021: estimated ECS grant $12,458,693; estimated change from FY18 ECS with holdbacks, $1,407,700; grant phase in schedule 25 percent
  • 2022: estimated ECS grant $12,968,357; estimated change from FY18 ECS with holdbacks, $1,917,364; grant phase in schedule 36 percent
  • 2023: estimated ECS grant $13,987,685; estimated change from FY18 ECS with holdbacks, $2,427,028; grant phase in schedule 47 percent
  • 2024: estimated ECS grant $13,987,685; estimated change from FY18 ECS with holdbacks, $2,936,692; grant phase in schedule 57 percent
  • 2025: estimated ECS grant $14,497,349; estimated change from FY18 ECS with holdbacks, $3,446,356; grant phase in schedule 68 percent
  • 2026: estimated ECS grant $15,007,013; estimated change from FY18 ECS with holdbacks, $3,956,020; grant phase in schedule 79 percent
  • 2027: estimated ECS grant $15,516,677; estimated change from FY18 ECS with holdbacks, $4,465,684; grant phase in schedule 89 percent
  • 2028: estimated ECS grant $16,024,429; estimated change from FY18 ECS with holdbacks, $4,973,436; grant phase in schedule 100 percent

“The beginning of a new ECS formula comes after years of the State not faithfully using a formula and instead funding Connecticut’s local public schools through block grants,” Roy wrote. “The new ECS formula, which was passed by the Connecticut General Assembly in October 2017 as part of the bipartisan state budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, includes several changes from the previous version of the formula the last time it was used.”

The email states:

“In addition to the phase-in schedule, the new ECS formula also contains changes to the formula’s weights and to its variable (the Base Aid Ratio) that determines each community’s ability to financially support its public schools. To learn more about these, and other, aspects of the new ECS formula, click on the links below for more details and information.

Formula Foundation
Weights
Base Aid Ratio
Phase-in Plan
Areas for Improvement

 

The Connecticut School Finance Project also offers an ECS Formula Component Comparison Tool, a Revised ECS Grants for FY2019 with Comparisons to Previous Funding Levels and an Interactive Model of ECS Formula.

 

 

NHS made ‘homey’ by new paint job; drone video shows ‘amazing’ colors

Norwalk High School’s spiffed-up exterior is drawing many positive comments.

The formerly drab and dirty-looking grey exterior has been painted green in places and a fresh-looking grey in others. “It looks like a school,” Common Council member Barbara Smyth (D-At Large) said recently.

“It changes the whole look by camouflaging the building so it fits into the hillside better and also by using the school colors to warm it up and make it feel more homey,” NHS School Governance Council member Margaret Watt said Tuesday in an email to NancyOnNorwalk. “I hope the kids like it! I think it definitely responds to the frequent complaint that the school looks like a prison. (Even my architect husband, who is a modernist and liked it in its original color, agrees that this works!)”

“I’ve heard a lot of good responses as well. It does make it feel homey and really is appealing to the eye,” NHS SGC member Stephanie Corrales wrote.

“I think that the new colors look amazing and do wonders to make the school look current, clean and inviting to our students, staff, and visitors,” SGC Co-Chair April Guilbault wrote. “When the SGC collectively came up with the idea to paint the school, it became the launching point of other improvements that needed to happen and that are now, thankfully, happening. This improvement in addition to the others, shows ‘care’,  pure and simple!”

The Sherwin Williams rubberized coating comes with a 5-year warranty and technicians measured the thickness of the paint as it was applied, Building and Facilities Manager Alan Lo said at the Sept. 5 Council Land Use and Building Management Committee meeting.  The work cost $280,000, Lo said.

NHS sophomore Trevor Cooper wrote on YouTube: “They did a TERRIFIC job making (NHS) look less industrial.”  Cooper, who runs Photography by Trevor (IG: @Photography_by_Trevor), provided NancyOnNorwalk with drone video featured below and above.

 

 

Mulch parked in Adamowski’s space

Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski’s City Hall parking space on Aug. 2. (Harold Cobin)

More than one person had the same thought on Aug. 2: Is someone sending Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski a message?

Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski’s City Hall parking space on Sept. 10. (Josh Morgan)

Adamowski’s reserved parking space at City Hall was filled with what one reader called a “big pile of dirt,” meticulously placed just within the white striping.

At the time, controversy raged over  West Rocks Middle School leadership: a pre-termination due process hearing had been held for then-Principal Lynne Moore, and School Vice Principal Joe DeVellis had been reassigned to Roton Middle School. Moore has since been reassigned to Norwalk High School.

Norwalk Public Schools Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams, Norwalk Communications Manager Joshua Morgan and Assistant to the Mayor Laoise King did not respond to an Aug. 2 email asking about the “dirt,” but last week Morgan explained, “That is mulch (not dirt) that was used for the bank behind the parking spots.”

Morgan provided a photo of “what it looks like now after it was weeded and mulched.”

 

5 comments

Mike Barbis September 20, 2018 at 9:16 am

Nancy, Nice one on the ECS increases … those are cumulative, not annual increases. If you look at the math, those increases are barely keeping up with inflation … Did our State Senator provide the data in that format? Too bad he isn’t really standing up for us in Hartford!

Tysen Canevari September 20, 2018 at 9:40 pm

When i graduated NHS in 1986 we had the stone above the main door engraved to say Welcome to NHS class of 1986. Is the this going to be covered permanently by the new banner? It would be a shame

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