Correction, 12:30 p.m.: Scores based on rubrics.
NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski has scored a 77 out of a possible 100 on an evaluation of his 2018-19 performance.
That news come to you courtesy of a thick binder stuffed with information, handed out Thursday evening in the Cranbury Park bunkhouse as the Board of Education began its annual three-day retreat. Adamowski’s evaluation is set to be discussed Saturday in an executive session; touched upon in public Thursday were shifting enrollment patterns, the possible conversion of Wolfpit Elementary School to an arts curriculum and the expectation that Norwalk Public Schools will request $9.8 million more next year for its operating budget.
Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Thomas Hamilton characterized that last item in a positive way, explaining that the projected $210.2 million 2020-21 operating budget is $1 million less than the City had been told to expect during last winter’s budget cycle. He attributed that to some recalculations; the City funded $2.3 million in expected one-time Board of Education expenses, using the Rainy Day Fund, but $1 million of expected one-time expenses aren’t needed this year.
The request, if it materializes as predicted, would represent a 4.9% budget increase.
Seven BoE members and three Common Council members attended the sixth annual Board retreat, a custom started in an attempt to heal Board dysfunction. Attendees enjoyed dinner provided by Valencia as Hamilton presented an enrollment data update done by consultants Milone & McBroom.
Norwalk is growing, unlike other Connecticut communities, Hamilton said. Enrollment is up 6.2% from a decade ago and is expected to increase 4.7% over the next 10 years, with that affected grade levels differently:
- PreK-5: up 2.8%
- Grades 6-8: up .7%
- Grades 9-12: up 10.5%
Individual school enrollments will be vary widely, Hamilton said. Naramake and Wolfpit Elementary Schools are expected to drop below 300 students each in 2021-22, which Adamowski characterized as being less than optimal. Overall middle school enrollment is expected to stay steady at 2,600 students but wildly varying enrollments are projected by 2028-29:
- Roton Middle School would grow to 750 students
- Nathan Hale Middle School would decline to 440 students
- Ponus Upper School would peak at 708 students in 2024-25
The high schools would also diverge by 2028-29:
- Brien McMahon High School would increase to 2,132 students, plus 305 at the Center for Global Studies
- Norwalk High School would decline to 1,116 students, plus 391 at the Norwalk Early College Academy
A Wolfpit Elementary School integrated arts program would help draw students and would feed into Nathan Hale and Norwalk High, where perhaps there would be an arts academy, Adamowski said, explaining, “I think that’s a very good strategy for keeping the schools between 1,500 and 2,000.”
The Board will learn more about this proposal Friday and will eventually vote on allowing the Wolfpit staff to develop the proposal, Adamowski said.
Adamowski’s evaluation score of 77, as relayed through the Board’s packet of info, compares to his 80 out of a possible 100 in 2017-18 and 89.7 for 2016-17. It’s based on the rubrics, the statistics sought by the strategic operating plan goals.
A score of at least 70 results in a raise for Adamowski equal to that received by Norwalk Association of School Administrators (NASA) members. A score of 80 would result in a bonus equal to 3% of Adamowski’s salary.