Educational funding promised by 3 Norwalk Dems

NORWALK, Conn. – Many Latino parents do not speak English and do not know when Norwalk Parent Teacher Organization meetings are, making it a challenge for them to help their children, Nathalia Gonzalez said Tuesday.

Gonzalez was posing a question to three Norwalk Democratic mayoral candidates during a mayoral forum at the South Norwalk Community Center.

“I do understand that the Latino students do fall behind on their grades,” she said. “What are you going to do as mayor to change that?… I know its Board of Education’s job but you as a mayor should have some responsibility for what’s going to go happen with the kids and education.”

Common Councilman Matt Miklave began his answer by talking about Republican disdain for the term “forensic audit” in reference to the Board of Education financing. Common Core will only make things more challenging, he said, because testing will be done on computers.

“Because of the digital divide between the wealthy and the poor, test scores are going to be disproportionally affected among the poor,” he said.

Common Core must be funded fully, he said, and the only way to do that is by freeing up resources in the city’s budget with performance based budgeting.

District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra got a smattering of applause with his comment that, “Cutting services to the library should never ever, ever be on the chopping block.”

“The board needs to make sure their priorities are intact with the needs of our students,” he said. “We need bilingual staff that are able to be present and help our struggling kids that are having trouble understanding English.”

Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling said the school district is not sensitive to the needs of the various cultures that are in it.

“At last count there are 42 languages spoken in Norwalk,” he said. “It is true we need to have programs to help the people who are disadvantaged with the learning curve to succeed. … It starts with fully funding the Board of Education, by supporting our superintendent and by letting him do his job.”

You can watch their answers above.

Former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel did not make it to the event.


9 responses to “Educational funding promised by 3 Norwalk Dems”

  1. Dawn

    42 languages. Should we have an interpreter for them all. When I was a kid if you did not speak English you learned if you wanted to or needed to. Or you found someone to help you. My grandmother never spoke English. She raised 7 kids in ny. You know what? They all did fine. People really need to stop making excuses. If they wanted to know what was going on they would make it their business to find out.

  2. Bruce Kimmel

    A few facts might be in order. First and foremost is that the Common Council and the Board of Estimate and Taxation fully funded the 2013-14 BOE budget request — the board got what it asked for for the first time in years. Secondly, so far Common Core has been fully funded, in both the operating and capital budgets. And thirdly, the Council did not need to fund a terribly expensive forensic audit because we were fairly certain what happened. Thus, instead, we hired Blum Shapiro to do an operational review that went into great detail and delineated exactly how the BOE developed a $4 million shortfall. Furthermore, the city and the BOE have taken steps to make sure such a shortfall does not happen again.

  3. Piberman

    Taking BOE funding out of the election campaign is indeed a milestone. Now perhaps Mr Kimmel could explain the Council’s ongoing reluctance to hire a financial audit with recommendations so we can have a well functioning NEON to properly serve our less fortunate citizens. It’s an election year so NEON funded by public funds merits some attention. Council members serving as NEON Board members failed their obligations. Does Mr Kimmel have suggestions on how the Council might give NEON the ongoing attention it truly deserves ?

  4. Norwalk Spectator

    Oh, come on, Ms. Gonzalez!
    One of the first things that the BOE did when Dr. Poselli came on board was to revamp the BOE website and install Google translate in the upper left hand corner of the page. That was a few years ago. Bilingual BOE flyers and announcements have been going home with students for years.
    And still the cry goes up, “Latino parents don’t know when the meetings are….” What an insult to the Latino parent community to infer they can’t even find someone — anyone — who is bilingual to ask when the BOE meetings are, use a computer translation function, or read a bilingual flyer. That’s sad, really sad, particularly since one of the Board members is Latino and I suspect there are many administrators and BOE employees who are or who are bilingual.
    My paternal grandparents had their kids, who were in school, sit down and teach them English.
    And finally, once again, the City administration is being asked to do the BOE’s job. The City gave the BOE the funding it requested and still the City must do more. That’s the saddest part of the entire thing.

  5. bill

    “The Librarians deserve more”, what? With what money Vinny?

  6. Oldtimer

    Funny how those most opposed to a forensic audit, for whatever reasons, always claim their opposition is based on the noble cause of saving money. For example, Bruce Kimmel talks about “terribly expensive forensic audit” as if he really knows how much one cost.

  7. D(ysfunctional)TC

    I noticed the NPL only offers the full box set of the Sopranos in English, Spanish, and French. This is totally unfair. Please get 39 copies in other languages asap and tell me how it is going to save taxpayers money at the same time and improve the city.

  8. Another excuse for the poor grades among Latinos –
    If their parents REALLY cared, they would LEARN the NATIONAL language but why should they?
    Advertising in America is 50% Spanish, the liberal lefties want to make sure illegals get to vote by supporting the block to require valid drivers/citizens id at the polls.
    Yep, the Latinos are laughing at the U.S. citizens and their “right” to being the “minority”.

  9. Piberman

    What’s discouraging is that the 3 candidates are “advising” the elected BOE how to do their jobs. That’s not their responsibility and speaks poorly about their capabilities and understanding of the City Charter. There are Democrat candidates for the BOE. Are they tongue tied ? Or not allowed to speak ? Councilman Kimmel has commendably set the record straight. If the candidates want new programs they ought to be above board enough to explain how they’ll be funded by new taxes. Otherwise they appear to be “pandering” to get votes. Surely we deserve better from those seeking to represent the City as Mayor.

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