NORWALK, Conn. – Good news: Norwalk will not have to cough up $450,000 because of a last-minute state decision, after all.
The Center for Global Studies has been operating for 16 years with a state-approved plan, but on May 31 the state informed Norwalk that CGS is non-compliant with the rules by which it gets state funding, Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski said Tuesday.
This was an explanation of what Board of Education Finance Committee Chairman Bryan Meek on June 9 said was a “little snafu in what was recognized allowable expenditures from CGS.”
“Obviously, this has been very disruptive,” Adamowski said, of the state’s decision that CGS was only eligible for 65 percent of the funding it has been receiving.
CGS has operated “the same way for 16 years without change, in accordance with a state approved operations plan which every inter-district magnet school must have,” Adamowski said. “The Center was the subject of a state review and audit earlier this year. Unfortunately both the scheduling of the audit as well as the receipt of the audit report was delayed multiple months, through no fault of our staff. It was a function of the state not being able to do it on an appropriate schedule.”
The audit, received on May 31, questioned CGS’s status as an inter-district magnet school and concluded that CGS is only eligible for a part-time magnet school grant, he said.
Again, 16 years, the students are their full time, he said.
“This left the district, in the first week of June, with a $450,000 bill,” Adamowski said. “…Now we have the state saying, ‘We are not going to reimburse you.’”
“We began to pursue that, with the assistance of the corporation counsel’s office, under the uniform procedures act. We believe not lawful for state to place a local district in a deficit situation,” Adamowski said.
The state legislative delegation added an amendment to a magnet school bill, funding Norwalk the $450,000, he said, but explaining that the bill included additional costs, and, “It is unclear, at least to the State Department of Education, as to whether the governor is going to sign the bill.”
“The bill, that our wonderful legislators put into action, has been approved as a public act,” Center for Global Studies Director Julie Parham said later. “That was yesterday.”
The next hurdle is for the state Department of Education to approve the plan to revise the CGS program.
“For 25 years, we have been classified as a school within a school by the state and they decided to change that this year, and along with that our funding,” Parham said. “I think we have a great plan … we have given them a reason to say yes to us.”