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Moccia on Rilling’s education plan: Been there, done that

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Mayor Richard Moccia shakes a Norwalk child’s hand at a recent Board of Education meeting.

NORWALK, Conn. – Mayor Richard Moccia responded with a press release Monday to the education platform announcement made Thursday, Oct. 10, by Democratic mayoral candidate Harry Rilling, saying there was nothing in the plan that isn’t already being done.

“There are two key takeaways,” the Moccia release stated. “First, Mr. Rilling has laid out a great program for the Norwalk schools, practically every element of which is already being done. With the continued leadership of our new superintendent of schools, Dr. Rivera, who was supported unanimously by the BoE Republicans (with only two Democratic members not supporting his appointment), things are looking up for Norwalk’s schools.

“Second, however, there is one glaring omission from Mr. Rilling’s release – any mention of fiscal responsibility at all. He continues his process here of proposing new spending on everything he talks about, but without any attention paid to protecting the taxpayers. I and the Republican majority BoE have done that, with a new Chief Financial Officer, responsible budgeting, tough but fair union contract negotiations, commencement of work on the school’s first-ever three-year budget plan, and complete pay-back of the insurance shortfall. Other than vague promises to try to get money from the State and Feds (both of which are broke), Mr. Rilling (as usual) ignores the question of how to pay for it. I haven’t, and won’t.”

In his press conference, Rilling said, “We need to do more to prepare our young people to give them the best education possible, to prepare them to go out into that world. You do that by working closely with all Board of Education employees. The teachers, the school nurses, the library aides, the teachers’ aides, the custodians, all the people who have direct or indirect contact with our students and who have an impact on them.”

He called for better leadership in Hartford to get a greater share of Educational Cost Sharing, getting parents more involved with the schools, making sure the implementation of Common Core Standards is fully funded and ready to go on schedule, and improving school safety.

Moccia said he has “led the fight for equitable ECS funding from the state, traveling to Hartford with BoE officials and parents (but notably without Mr. Rilling) to lobby for more state aid; the board also just submitted an application for $5 million in Race to the Top funding to the Federal government.”

Rilling also said it was “shameful” the Moccia pulled back money that had been earmarked for the schools after Gov. Dannel Malloy increased state Priority School funding, creating “a wash,” and leaving the schools without the increase the state intended. Rilling also said a good school system would attract more residents and grow the city’s tax base, which would relieve some of the burden on Norwalk’s homeowners.

Moccia said his office already has the “positive partnership with the Board of Education, the Superintendent, and school leaders” that Rilling called for, “as evidenced by the close cooperation of my office, the Council and the BET with the Board of Education on this year’s budget.”

Moccia also pointed out thee schools have already addressed safety concerns.

“We have adopted a new School Safety Plan, trained staff, added school police resource officers, have $100,000 in safety improvements underway, and, with most Police and School Safety Committee reviews completed, the Board is requesting another $500,000 in funding for safety improvements, which I will support,” he said in the release.

In addition, Moccia said, “We have major renovations of Naramake and Rowayton schools moving forward, and plans for Jefferson renovations in the works. He says he will ‘implement the Common Core curriculum’ – but Norwalk is already well ahead of the curve here. We made an extraordinary commitment of resources this year on the Common Core ($2.1 million in capital spending approved already, with over $1 million more planned for next year). Common Core math is already implemented at all schools, K-12; English is being implemented in 6-12 already, with K-5 to be implemented next year on schedule; a science curriculum specialist position was added to the budget in preparation for the science Common Core.”

Moccia took exception to Rilling’s call for more respect for the teachers and more support for their positions.

“Mr. Rilling says he ‘will respect the value and worth of all employees in the Norwalk Public Schools’” Moccia said in the release. “I am in the schools on a regular basis, every week. I show respect for our employees every time I visit a school, and they are listened to and have input on everything from curriculum decisions to teacher evaluation systems.”

Comments

10 responses to “Moccia on Rilling’s education plan: Been there, done that”

  1. Mike Rotch

    Mayor Moccia should say “Been there, cut that”. Two things this city needs to fix: Zoning and Education. You get these straight and other areas will fall into line.

  2. rburnett

    Blah Blah blah – Time for change. From what I have heard, Moccia goes to Hartford for ceremonies and fundraising only.

  3. LWitherspoon

    Does anybody know if Teachers Union President Bruce Mellion participates in lobbying Hartford for more ECS funds for Norwalk?

  4. Daisy

    Moccia’s right. He has to – and in the unlikely event that Harry is elected, he’ll find out it ain’t that easy – think of EVERYBODY, not just one branch of the city (and union members who can’t even be bothered to live in Norwalk and pay Norwalk taxes – but LOVE the fact that they make more money here than they would if they worked where the lived).

  5. Suzanne

    No he hasn’t (Been There, Done That). If he had, NPS test scores would be far north of the 40% and a little bit more scored by our students on average this last go ’round. If Moccia is so accomplished, why aren’t the kids doing better?

  6. Kids aren’t doing better because their parents (at home?) aren’t helping their kids — they think it’s “the village” that needs to be readjusted.

  7. Bob

    Notice how Moccia changed the subject and completely avoided the question about the city money-state- money, fast, three card monty switcheroo. The hand is faster than the eye. Anyone know if Moccia is related to Madoff? Have to follow up and press for a direct anwser why he robbed BOE. And whats with this sudden interest in education? Who’s has been cutting education the last 8 years? And is he going to let NEON collapse and we loose headstart too? Than there is that coment about getting out to the schools, fails to mention for phto ops only. RC and CV still waiting for Moccia to drop by and hear from his cinstituents. But you never do, Dick never. Face it there Dick, you aint got no hand to left to play. And wonderboy just isnt that wonderful after all. He just plays dirty and cheats. Work on that concession speech, try and go out with at least a little class, if not for yourself than for the town.

  8. Kelly

    What I want to know is what we got for our $800,000 to Moccia? Cna anyone be specific?
    I mean really, what has the man done besides
    use divisiveness as a gavel. Real expensive
    part time ribbon cutter. We must expect and demand more from our representatives. A briilant move to let speculators, come in tear down revenue producing propertys, into empty lots paying little tax. And than allow the speculators to sit on the properties until the market is favorable and than turn around and sell the vacant land with a nice handsome profit. Nver having to actually develop anything. Moccia you failed us, horridly. But thank you for your service and please dont come again. Time to retire in Florida, Enjoy your golden years sir.

  9. Tim T

    Actually Mike Rotch the main thing the city needs to fix is the out of control crime , which is due to Rillings failure as police consultant.

  10. piberman

    One wonders why Chief Rilling calls for greater respect for our public school teachers when they are the 5th highest paid in the state( more than in any other city in CT) and their Vanguard monthly publication sharply criticizes BOE members, Supts, the City administration and urges NFT employees to vote the entire Democratic ticket. What we need is a call for the school teachers to respect the BOE, Supt and City administration – their employers. Reportedly no other teacher union in CT has such hostile relations with its BOE and Supts.
    Or interfers with local politics as the NFT.

    If would be helpful if Chief Rilling asks why with a Democratic super majority in Hartford along with a Democrat Governor our Democrat legislators haven’t been able to improve Norwalk’s ECS funding ? That’s a job for our state legislators, not BOE or Mayors. So far our Democrat local legislators haven’t been able to bring home a fairer ECS funding to Norwalk. Maybe they need to try harder.

    It ill behooves mayoral candidates to tell us how to run our public school system. That’s why we elect a Board of Education. And in recent years they’ve done pretty well with a successful Arbitration, hiring a CFO and an outstanding nationally recognized Supt.

    Finally, if Chief Rilling want to do “more” for Norwalk when please tell us where the funding is coming from. Or are we in for new higher taxes that will further depress our property values. No doubt there are always opportunities to improve our local governance but the details and funding need center attention. Lets focus outside public education where the BOE is in charge. If we’re under funding then please lets have the details and identify the new sources of funds/taxes.

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