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NPS demographic study shows big hike in Hispanic students

The Norwalk Board of Education meeting Tuesday in City Hall. “I think it’s very helpful our Mayor is here tonight to hear as we debate this,” said BoE Chairman Mike Barbis of Mayor Harry Rilling, center left. Between them is Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski.

Updated, Jan. 20: link to 2015 document added. Updated, 9:37 a.m.: Added video of Costanzo.  9:10 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – In one year, Norwalk will be a majority Hispanic school district.  Norwalk Public Schools’s Hispanic student population is now 49.4%.

So said Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski on Tuesday, in a presentation highlighting the demographic challenges driving Norwalk’s school expenditures, as the number of English Language Learners (ELL) swells – along with the percentages of children eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch and the number of students in Special Education.

Sixty-three percent of Norwalk’s student body meets the state’s description of “high needs.”

“I think you can see the challenges facing our schools,” Adamowski said.

In the same meeting, the Board approved a nearly $203 million operating budget request, about $12.4 million more than 2018-19, after deducting about $500,000 from Adamowski’s recommended budget and moving it over to the capital budget request. The deduction was for furniture and curriculum materials; Board member Barbara Meyer-Mitchell last week questioned why the items were in the operating budget.

Board of Education Chairman Mike Barbis had requested a look at ethnicity, ELL, free and reduced lunch and Special Education enrollments, Adamowski said Tuesday.

“I think you will see in this report that you get much, much more information than we ever had before,” Adamowski said.

NPS is now 49.4 percent Hispanic, Adamowski said.

“Predictably, in a year we will be a majority Hispanic school district,” he said.  When Adamowski became superintendent in 2015, the school population was 25 percent Hispanic, he said.

A document provided in 2015 by then-Board Chairman Mike Lyons shows that in 2012-13 Norwalk’s school population was 37.7 percent Hispanic. In 2001-2002, it was 22.7 percent Hispanic.

Tuesday’s document shows 5,721 Hispanic children of a total 11,588 students this year; the 2015 document shows 4,178 Hispanic children out of a total 11,072 students in 2012-2013.

Adamowski said the Asian and White populations have decreased slightly, while the black population is significantly lower.

There are 1,843 black children in NPS this year, or 15.9 percent of the population, according to the report. There were 2,232 black children in NPS in 2012-13, or 20.2 percent, according to the 2015 document.

The white population is 27.32 percent of the student body this year, and in 2012-13 it was 35.8 percent.

All of the 2018-19 statistics are as of Jan. 1, which means they don’t reflect what has become a regular spike in ELL students in January, Adamowski said.

The same occurred last year, he noted.  “Right now, we are enrolling a good number of students … I am told that the school year in many Central and South American countries ends at Christmas,” so for many Hispanic families, January is a good time to move their children to America.

“We believe at least a part of that group returns to their country of origin in the summer and then comes back in January,” Adamowski said later, as NPS Chief of School Operations Frank Costanzo reviewed residency investigation statistics.

Birth rate is also a factor in Hispanic student population growth, Adamowski said.

English Language Learners are up to 16 percent of Norwalk’s school population, with 1,863 children. That’s higher than ever, and for the first time exceeds Special Education enrollment.  Students learning English are now the “fastest growing segment of our school population,” Adamowski said.

At Kendall Elementary, ELL students are 35.6 percent of the population, according to the report.

“That’s a third of the school learning English for the first time,” Adamowski said. “It makes their recent achievement in terms of their SBAC growth in reading and math even more significant. Certainly this is a challenge that we are going to need to meet as a district… this becomes an overwhelming issue at some point.”

ELL students cost about a third more to educate, he said.

The Hispanic population represents 16 countries.  The largest segment by country of origin are from Guatemala and Honduras.  ELL is “predominantly Latino” with about a dozen Haitians speaking Haitian Creole and then a handful of Polish and Greek students, Adamowski said.

Board member Erik Anderson observed that about 30 percent of the Hispanic population are ELL.

New students comprise 20 percent of the ELL population, Costanzo said.  The federal government calculates funding based on Oct. 1 enrollment but NPS has added 200 new students since then.

Barbis said the total enrollment has only gone up 45 students.

“We lose students to other districts and private schools,” and there are about 80 students whose enrollment is still “pending,” as NPS waits for documentation, Costanzo said. Of that number, 30 are ELL.

“I think in urban districts we see an increase in transients, or student mobility. As a result of families losing their homes, needing to find a temporary housing, leaving a home country for a new country,” Costanzo said.

The free or reduced-cost lunch population is up to 57.4 percent of the student body, “the highest participation so far that we have had,” Adamowski said.

Lyons in 2017 said NPS had 50 percent free and reduced lunch.

“This is very telling,” Adamowski said Tuesday. “It essentially reflects what is happening in Connecticut … the schools are becoming more diverse and poorer, reflecting the immigrant population that is enrolling in our state. We are certainly not the exception to that.”

The Special Education population is up to 14.6 percent of the total, Adamowski said.

Connecticut classifies high needs students as those who fall into two or more categories of special needs, such as English language learners, special education, or free or reduced lunch.

Costanzo later explained that in 2016-17 the Board’s Policy Committee worked to create a system of investigating students who appear to be attending NPS but living elsewhere.

There have been 15 investigations this year, five of which were conducted by a private investigator at a cost of $1,000 per investigation, Costanzo said.  Of the five, four children were found to have moved to a different part of Norwalk and one was found to be living in Bridgeport.  The family of that child has filed an appeal, Costanzo said.

The NPS welcome center has had 153 ELL families come in to verify their residency this year, and less than five are homeowners, which is tough for a private investigator, he said.

“Clearly this is a challenging area for the district,” Costanzo said. “Residency is a challenge to manage and monitor, particularly when the new families who are coming in are renting spaces, sometimes legally, sometimes illegally, throughout the City. It becomes extremely difficult for us to be able to verify whether they are truly living in the residence that they are providing.”

There was a recent report saying that 80 percent of the state’s immigrants come to Fairfield County because they can get jobs in the service industry, Adamowski said.  “This economic reality is what determines why we are receiving this level of immigration.”

BoE 19-0108 resident policy 20190117

 

NPS enrollment Jan 15 2019

 

Above, Chief of School Operations Frank Costanzo discusses the process of confirming residency.

39 comments

Sue Haynie January 18, 2019 at 6:28 am

The reality is that NPS demographics don’t come close to reflecting the City of Norwalk’s demographics. This is a serious problem, a tipping point.

The State of CT views Norwalk as the ‘gold coast’ as witnessed by our meager ECS and other funding. That means Norwalk homeowners, most of whom don’t have children in the schools, are left to begrudgingly pick up the tab. One of my neighbors had her house on the market & was told by the R.E. agent that it was ‘too child friendly’.

Our property taxes are ridiculously high, our property values are stagnating, houses aren’t selling. There are no easy answers.

Lisa Brinton January 18, 2019 at 6:49 am

In referring to an earlier reported story with a host of local and state politicians with kids at Tracey School – photo ops are nice, but they don’t pay the bills.

Steve Mann January 18, 2019 at 7:23 am

There actually is a simple answer. Stop giving permits to build apartments on every square inch of Norwalk. Apartments bring untaxed renters, renters bring children, children go to school. We, the taxpayers, subsidize the developers who make their money on these apartment buildings. It should infuriate the voting public that the burden falls on the backs of Norwalk private property tax payers. One way to shift this responsibility would be to institute a services tax on renters. You can just imagine how wildly unpopular that would be with the current administration, but then again who wants anything that makes sense at the risk of losing votes.

I realize that the superintendent used the word “predictably”, but at the same time it seems to be a surprise to the Board that the Hispanic student population has increased by 25% over the past few years. Can anyone say city planner ?

Tony P January 18, 2019 at 7:48 am

In other news: Water – wet

Next study – Newly built apartments/illegal apartments add to enrollment at NPS.

Mike Barbis January 18, 2019 at 8:02 am

I would urge all NON readers to watch the video of Tuesday’s Board of Ed meeting … in particular, the segment on Residency … this can be watched on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMOLpyEeQYY

The Residency segment starts at minute 47 and be sure to start watching at minute 52 … I’ve urged the City repeatedly to focus on the issue of illegal multifamily units but P&Z’s Steve Kleppin just gives reasons why it is so hard to do and thus does not get done. Steve, please be sure to watch this video segment and make a plan to deal with this issue!!

Piberman January 18, 2019 at 8:22 am

Increasingly it looks like Mayor Rilling’s “Legacy” will be the major increase in transient renters from both new apartments and increased numbers of illegal apartments with disproportionate numbers of Latinos. That surge of renters, now 40% up from 30%, puts unavoidable pressure on remaining homeowners facing ever more punitive property tax levels to fund a public school system financed by homeowners who pick up more than their fair share from renters who fail to pay their full share of the costs of educating their kids.
Further declines in property values as long time homeowners exit in large numbers look inevitable. In celebrating the “achievements of Apartment Developers” Mayor Rilling has changed the very face of Norwalk and inevitably moved Norwalk closer to a Bridgeport solution where renters comprise 60% of the population.

As long as Norwalk homeowners and renters continue to elect City officials lacking both business experience and knowledge of business management skills Norwalk’s future is a City increasingly resembling the sad fate of CT’s other once proud cities. There’s few better guides to how well a City is managed than its property values. Well managed cities attract new homeowners with rising property values. Increasingly it seems Norwalk’s “best days” are well behind it. Norwalk, long recognized as the County’s most transient City, will increasingly become ever more transient as more homeowners see the inevitable future – ever rising taxes and ever lower property values. Without a major change in how Norwalk is governed that future seems all but inescapable.

Norwalk native January 18, 2019 at 8:30 am

Dear Mr. Mayor and Common Council,
Please, please, please start enforcing zoning laws that prohibit illegal apartments. I cannot continue to subsidize delinquent landlords and illegitimate tenants.
Than you

Non Partisan January 18, 2019 at 9:18 am

End our sanctuary city policies

Rid this city of illegal apartments

Moratorium on any more subsidized housing until we get back down to 10%

Enforce zoning

Reasonable Doubt January 18, 2019 at 10:23 am

The Sanctuary City policies are coming home to roost. To the extent that we allow illegal immigrants to populate our schools will be the extent that we slowly go broke paying for all this bloat in the local school budgets.

No mention was made (yet) of all the secondary costs that will need to be factored in such as medical care, social services, food stamps, job training, subsidies housing etc. etc. etc. We pay for that as well.

In the United States it use to be that a strong work ethic and a strong back was all you needed to succeed. However, that does not make the cut anymore.

You also need the requisite skills set to operate in this economy – namely higher education, or a specialized skill.

While I feel for the illegal immigrants who have made this journey in the hopes of a better life, I am concerned about my ability to provide the same for my family and ensure my kids have a better life as well.

I expect many progressives out there will have a knee jerk reaction and call me racist. But, think about it, am I really? Or do I just want the best for my kids, as any normal parent would?

Manuel January 18, 2019 at 11:18 am

NPS’s iconic stature as a natural magnet for asylum seekers seeking a better education deserves special recognition. This should serve as a major draw for grant funding to alleviate the strain of the property taxpayer who have paid more than their fair share. As such, how can parents get involved in fund raising for our schools to avoid a Bridgeport solution referenced by the Piberman comment above? It is also fairly clear that these issues will magnify as the city transitions into greater share of renters than homeowners in the next several years.

Al Bore January 18, 2019 at 11:35 am

Our 2 mayor’s have blindfolds on and the council bows to them, watching that BOE meeting is sickening, to see the abuse of our school system and in turn my tax dollars because I am a Norwalk tax payer. I am sick of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Norwalk Lost January 18, 2019 at 11:45 am

Unless city govt can devise tangible policies to avert the onslaught of much higher taxes to the strained homeowner for school funding, Norwalk will be on a glide path towards a Bridgeport solution as mentioned by some of the commentators. A truly “Norwalk Lost” scenario.

Norwalk native January 18, 2019 at 12:35 pm

The headline should shock no one, as the actual percentage of Hispanic students and ELL learners is closer to 100%.

What is shocking is the continued reluctance of City Officals to enforce zoning laws. One can assume that they don’t want the bad publicity of turning out illegal residents and immigrants. They also don’t want to decrease the student population, as this would lower the demand for budget dollars that ultimately flow into Public Union coffers. There seems to be no interest in or concern for the plight of those who are stuck with bill: homeowners and legitimate landlords/tenants.

Teacher January 18, 2019 at 12:47 pm

@ Manuel the idea to have parents fund raise and support schools is wonderful to a point. Some schools have parent organizations that can generate 10’s of thousands of dollars and other have organizations which struggle to raise a thousand. It creates and even more unlevel playing field for all of our students. If the PTA’s all joined together and shared the resources equally I’d be all for it, unfortunately some parents will not see it that way. It creates more division than cohesion.

JOHN C ROMANO January 18, 2019 at 12:53 pm

As Mike Barbis pointed out, there are issues with out of district/town kids going to our schools. A bigger issue for the tax payers is NON TAXPAYERS.ILLEAGALS. Ct. / Norwalk have become sanctuary cities/state. How is that fair and equitable. With taxes rising, property valus increasing on paper but in reality prices going down. How can we continue down this slippery slope. Please stop the madness.

Patrick Cooper January 18, 2019 at 1:07 pm

Norwalk – this is really, really important. Pay attention – this data explains what happens when the state demands population growth by any means – and the city willingly complies. Further, the absolute neglect to enforce city ordinance’s – Harry the mayor, the common council, and the ordinance committee head – Eloisa Melendez. No coincidence.

This is about policy – and cost. I’m not here to debate the humanitarian issues relating to immigration, but it is the promotion by our mayor that Norwalk is a “sanctuary city” that leads to these outcomes. You MUST see and hear this for yourselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMOLpyEeQYY

Frank Costanzo’s deliver’s the meat of this data (starting at 47:00) – this is the discussion of confirming residency. We all recall the heated debate over the Tonya McDowell case – an essentially homeless woman who falsified documents so she could enroll her 5-year-old at Brookside – and Norwalk had her arrested and sued for $15,000 – essentially the cost of that education. Given that property taxes fund 90% of the city’s budget, and well over 50% of that budget is the NPS – taxpaying residents were right to demand that we only pay for people living in Norwalk legally.

Now it’s important to note that this data came relative to the process of verifying residency – a process now managed by Liz Roberson (?) – not the “welcome center”. As Mr. Costanzo points out (52:14) – the NPS has 153 NEW ELL (English Language Learner’s) JUST THIS YEAR (so far – there are 30 more on a “waiting list”). He describes the difficulty (“challenging”) in confirming that residency, because of unique lifestyle patterns of this community. But a major takeaway was this: of the 153 new ELL students – “less than 5” are homeowners. Meaning – 148/153 (96.7%) live in apartments or – predominantly – multi-family homes. The most astonishing statement (but not surprising) is – and I quote exactly – “many families are not in a legal lease with a landlord”. Bingo.

Mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton made “illegal apartment’s” a cornerstone of her campaign in the last election. She pressed the mayor – and all at city hall – why more wasn’t being done to address this issue – both from a humanitarian side, and from a tax perspective. You see – when one person has the lease – all the other sub-leases are typically paid in cash – so while property tax might be paid on the dwelling – it does not equitably represent the burden because you have 6 families living in a single-family home.

Ms. McDowell was sued for $15,000 in 2011 – so you know the per-pupil cost has grown substantially since then. I believe a fair number might be $17,500 – correct me if I’m wrong. So, Norwalk – JUST these 153 NEW students this year cost taxpayer’s (153 x $17,500) $2,677,500 annually. Add in the 30 on the wait list – and that number swells to $3,202,500. What tax contribution do you think we are receiving as offset? Remember – income and sales taxes accrue to the state.

Question: If NPS in performing this work discovers a new student is living in a multi-family home without a “legal” lease – especially a “family” living in a single room – do they share this information with the city so they can take action? Have they? Would they?

What is galling is watching our mayor on this tape – “disinterested” would be a compliment. Here is a man who promotes Norwalk as a “sanctuary city” – who refuses to put any effort or resources into addressing the in-equitable issue of “illegal apartments” – not only the hornet’s nest in and around the hospital, but all over the city. Put’s a child in charge of the ordinance committee – which has made a big deal about noise and plastic bags – but not a peep about this issue – about enforcement. And then Harry has the audacity to publicly scold the BOE over their budget increases. Draw your own conclusion about your mayor, and CC.

Watching this tape – it all but appeared that Harry was focused on something else altogether. Maybe it was the summary notes about how his legal department is getting their busters handed to them in the Milligan lawsuit. Maybe it was a note detailing the growing sentiments that the city residents as a whole will sue the town to overturn the fugazy revaluation. Maybe it’s a note from one of his developer buddies asking when the innovation district tax giveaways become effective? Or maybe it is a warning shot about Firetree, about the West Norwalk nursing home in the AAA residential area, or the total economic disruption of SoNo and East Norwalk care of the Walk Bridge that he has done nothing about – worse – has essentially rolled over for the state. Over his past 5 years, Harry has done more to turn Norwalk into Bridgeport than any prior mayor. No wonder he hasn’t declared for 2019.

EnoPride January 18, 2019 at 1:16 pm

Maybe I misheard on the video, but didn’t they report the Asian population increased slightly? The article reads this population decreased slightly.

Scott January 18, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Looks like we are in dire straits and the Norwalk taxpayers are going to be left holding the bag once again.

Unless, Senator Duff or our Norwalk Grants Coordinator, Josh Morgan, can speak to additional money that will be coming to Norwalk from Hartford. I would greatly appreciate any comment from either of them on this issue.

In addition, it’s worth while to note what is taking place in LA with the teachers’ strike right now. They were big supporters of illegal immigration but one of their issues is the teacher to student ratio now that the classrooms are overcrowded. The teachers’ union now wants additional teachers hired to lower the ratio. Can we expect to see the same thing occur here in the near future given our current path?

Hopefully Senator Duff or Mr. Morgan will be able to comment and tell us there is additional money coming to Norwalk.

Another Opinion January 18, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Rather than wasting time on a nonsensical plastic bag ban, why are not the common council and mayor focused on this? There needs to be accountability for how a city such as Norwalk with all the massive development can not adequately fund the schools without socking it to the homeowner again via hiking taxes? Embarrassing to say the least.

EnoPride January 18, 2019 at 2:25 pm

What a fascinating bunch of data this is. A new wrinkle in Mayor Rilling’s brain, hopefully. Maybe he and the Common Council will be more understanding of what this BoE is up against and will support the budget ask this year. I wish they, along with Mr. Sheehan and Mr. Kleppin, were present to hear this presentation. Especially the portion about Immigration and birthrate being the the drivers of the high surge of Hispanic students in NPS. Learning about The January Blimp phenomenon, where the schools swell even more with immigrant enrollment beyond the Fall enrollment, is something else. Challenging stuff for anyone involved with educating these children and getting them up to speed.

A large number of these students cost 1/3 more $$$ to educate. Interesting also to learn that it is unknown where a certain amount of the students dwell and so private investigation is utilized to collect data. The African American student population is decreasing as is the White student population, who exit to other neighboring towns leaving more spots for the influx of Hispanic immigrants to fill. We learn that NPS is on the road to becoming a predominantly Hispanic school system. There is a critical imbalance here. Does the Common Council comprehend this? How can RDA and P&Z (or Mayor Rilling) not acknowledge with any sense of urgency how lack of zoning enforcement and green lighting/not keeping tabs on rampant apartments and multi family buildings stresses the school systems and becomes very expensive to sustain? Did Mayor Rilling speak at the meeting?

Thank you, Dr. Adamowski and BoE for such valuable data. Thank you for all of your hard work, dedication and progress in ensuring that the children of Norwalk receive the best education possible for their individual needs. This meeting truly underscores that doing so is no easy task. Yet you all have made such great progress the past several years. It is not lost on many of us how much time you volunteer. Congrats to your successes and again, thank you! Well done.

Scott January 18, 2019 at 2:43 pm

Regarding illegal apartments and zoning enforcement…

The private sector often requires us to provide status reports and/or key metrics on an ongoing basis for the deliverables/project(s) we are responsible for completing.

Does P&Z or whichever department is responsible for code enforcement ever provide something similar to the citizens of Norwalk? Meaning there is some document or summary on a quarterly or yearly basis to provide transparency so we have an idea of what things are actually being enforced and not enforced?

Adam blank January 18, 2019 at 4:24 pm

All the multi family housing going up in Norwalk substantially contributes to the tax base and has essentially no impact on the student enrollment numbers. People who say otherwise ignore the data.

The illegal apartments are another story.

The real villain is a state system that forces each municipality to fund education for its residents. It makes it really impossible for Norwalk to compete with its neighbors.

Tony P January 18, 2019 at 4:48 pm

“All the multi family housing going up in Norwalk substantially contributes to the tax base and has essentially no impact on the student enrollment numbers. People who say otherwise ignore the data.”

Mr. Blank, what data? Please point me in the direction.

Adam blank January 18, 2019 at 5:44 pm

Tony P- BOE had consultants do a review and also looked at what they were actually getting from new development. It is negligible. They have checked the results for at least the last three years and it has been accurate. One bedroom luxury apartments do not attract families with public school kids. The lower the rent and larger the apartment the more likely it will house public school kids. New construction has close to no three bedroom units and high rents. When waypoint went in they knocked down tons of Multifamily cheap apartments (likely many illegal) even though they replaced them with more units because they are smaller sized and higher priced very few new public school kids came with the development (also the BOE Track’s where the kids come from and in luxury building the kids tend to have already been public school kids in Norwalk not new enrollees.

Patrick Cooper January 18, 2019 at 6:07 pm

@Adam Blank – your spin isn’t working. You have skin in the game – we get it. But as far as I can tell – section 8 voucher’s are accepted anywhere there is a vacancy. I travel Main every morning to the train station – it is a bold face lie there are no school children coming from the developments you note. My lying eye’s see the buses – long & short. They are not stopping for coffee.

A mix of housing choices is certainly desirable. But the shift to fortress apartment developments by this administration is not in the city best interest. In the past 4 years – we have added what – close to 5,000 units? You state they contribute to the tax base? How can they when they receive credits and abatements. Want to justify Ironworks? Put your reputation on that one?

Adam – how can a shift from 25%/37%/ to 50% be negligible? How can 148/153 in Multi-Family with “many” leases sub’s and not legal be negligible? And if the $2,500 1&2 bedrooms are so successful, why are we debating the merits of 20×20 $1,100 micro’s?

Full disclosure – you’re a real estate attorney. I don’t know you – but I find it a reach to think your unbiased here. I need more facts (and the sources) before I believe you. Sorry Mr. 40 under 40.

Mike Barbis January 18, 2019 at 10:01 pm

At last count, we had 65 students from the new apartments … that’s a bit more than negligible but it is not what is driving the growth in our student population. Ten years ago we had 10,745 students; currently we have 11,588 students. The growth is real. The question we are working to answer is: how and where is this growth from?

Sue Haynie January 19, 2019 at 6:25 am

@Mike Barbis, that you for the information and clarity.

Percentages are good but they hide what it means in real time.

In 2012/2013 according to above data, of 11,072 students:
Hispanic=4,178 (37.7%); Black=2,237 (20.2%); White=3,964 (35.8%).

In 2018/19, of 11,588 students:
Hispanics-5,721 (49.37%); Black=1,843 (15.9%); White=3,166 (27.32%)

From 2012/13 to 2018/19, Norwalk PS student population changes were:
Hispanics increased +1,543 students; Blacks decreased (394);Whites decreased (798)

Norwalk public schools have passed a tipping point it seems, and no longer reflects the demographics of the City.

Adam blank January 19, 2019 at 8:13 am

Patrick – I think Mikes count of 65 includes people who moved within Norwalk . But even at 65 that is a cost to educate at 1.3mil per year. For perspective head of harbor pays $300k a year in taxes and it is one of the smaller developments. Add them all up and it’s got to be 15-20 million a year in tax revenue. And of course their residents are spending money in town at restaurants dry cleaners etc etc . A big win for Norwalk. Although I don’t love the fortress feel of some of them and note the P&Z now hires an outside architect to do design reviews (a cost paid by the developer).

EnoPride January 19, 2019 at 10:52 am

The January surge phenomenon is something. Question for Mike Barbis… Just wondering, what is the policy for late enrollment NPS students? Understood that of course no child can or should be turned away, but seems that enrollment that late does not constitute a complete coverage of the school year curriculum for the late enrollment child, which is less than ideal, not to mention is a strain on teachers conducting classrooms that have been in session already for months. The late enrollment students are missing a big chunk of the school year and teachers have to successfully catch these kids up. Factoring in that a good amount of these children are ELL or special needs children who need to be caught up and taught the English language, this second wave of enrollment trend which seems to be gaining momentum by the year is troubling if the numbers swell even more. And, as you mentioned, where are these additional children coming from?

Bryan Meek January 19, 2019 at 11:20 am

The arguments for packing every last square inch of the city with cheaply built apartments reminds me of the Dish networks executive who after being confronted on losing money on each unit sold remarked that they would make it up on volume. The results of irrational development at breakneck speed are quite evident in quality life issues like traffic, noise, and the near exploding treatment plant. But more of that is better, according to some.

These government subsidized (through tax abatement schemes) apartments are also creating a false floor for pricing on illegal apartments, which is driving most of the volume. To claim that the development has no impact on this market is naive.

One way to fix this would be a state statue requiring landlords to prove on their tax returns that they are registered legally with the city. No registration, no deductions for depreciation and other expenses. The city would then have a means to tell who is renting and then do follow ups on the legality. But the section 8 racket and politicians invested in keeping this going have no interest in doing so or it would have been done by now.

Bridget P January 19, 2019 at 12:18 pm

There should be no mystery – these kids are unaccompanied minors crossing the border making their way up here. Also, I would suggest P&Z take a field trip to South Norwalk where upwards of 15 – 20 people (up to five families)are living per house. Illegal boarding per single family homes should not be allowed. These living arrangements are not only dangerous to the families occupying these homes but also are not fair to the existing homeowners here who have to pay more in taxes to subsidize their children.

Steve Mann January 19, 2019 at 4:52 pm

While you’re in So. Norwalk, stop at the train station each morning and count the kids getting off the train from Bridgeport headed to Norwalk schools. That might account for a chunk of the BOE mysterious student population growth.

EnoPride January 19, 2019 at 5:56 pm

Maybe NPS Schools could require in person enrollment and require at least 3 forms of identification at enrollment which prove a consistent place of residence (print out of cell phone bill, credit card or bank statement or any bill which can track an address) as a means of tracking proof of residence. Cheaper way to collect data than private investigation, while laying down stricter rules which would deter attempts at non resident student enrollment. Just a thought.

Paul Lanning January 19, 2019 at 9:22 pm

To set the record straight on Tanya McDowell: She wasn’t homeless. She and her 6-year old son lived in a relative’s apartment in Bridgeport. She operated her business (selling dope and procuring prostitutes) in two Norwalk locations: Marshall’s parking lot and the sidewalk in front of the magnet school. She enrolled her son first in Wolfpit Elementary then in Brookside for the convenience of having him attend school close to where she plied her trade.

Micheal McGuire January 20, 2019 at 10:18 am

As a real estate appraiser over the last three decades I have personally seen a shift in the illegal housing within the smaller 2-4 family homes here in the NY/CT area. Where it use to be that a three bedroom apartment, for example, would house 2 to 4 men in each bedroom. Today we don’t see that much anymore. The more typical scenario is that we see entire families occupying one bedroom. So that three bedroom apartment houses up to three families.

I believe this is a major contributor to the issue being discussed here.

Norwalk native January 20, 2019 at 1:59 pm

In case it hasn’t occurred to everyone reading this article and the accompanying comments, this is exactly why we need a wall. The main problem for local taxpayers is not the MS 13 gangs or Drug proliferators crossing the border. It is the unaccompanied minors and illegal families in general who represent a demographic time bomb for the communities that will have to educate them, house them and provide services to them. As discussed above, many are not living in legal situations that would draw the required taxes to fund their needs. Many if not most are also not paying federal or State income taxes. This leaves natural born citizens and legal immigrants to foot the bill and fund the gap. How long can this continue? What is the end game??

Paul Lanning January 21, 2019 at 12:35 am

There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. because Congress has failed-and keeps right on failing-to enact immigration legislation.

According to government figures, the number of illegal border crossers has been steadily decreasing since 2014.

According to government figures, more than 40% of illegals living here didn’t sneak across the border at all. They overstayed expired temporary work visas.

According to U.S. drug enforcement agencies, the majority of dope smuggled in is coming through customs, where the staff is shorthanded and under-equipped.

Trump is struggling to fulfill the top campaign promise he made to the xenophobic white supremacists who comprise his primary bloc of support..and in pursuit of that goal he is holding the entire country hostage.

According to U.S. government statistics, the number of illegal border crossers has steadily

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