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NFT, Norwalk BoE reach agreement – ending budget crisis

Norwalk Federation of Teachers President Mary Yordon, left, and Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons sign an agreement Friday in City Hall. (Contributed photo)

Updated, 4 a.m. Saturday: Information added about NFT’s original proposal.

NORWALK, Conn. — There will be no layoffs of Norwalk Public Schools personnel this year, the Board of Education announced Friday evening.

Specifically: kindergarten aide positions will not be eliminated, nor will middle school music teachers. The middle school music program will continue in the same form it’s been in.

Board of Education leaders met with Norwalk Federation of Teachers leaders Friday to negotiate the Board’s request that teachers switch their health insurance carrier to Connecticut 2.0. The BoE had planned to cut nearly $2 million from its 2017-18 operating budget, over and above a $1.3 million cut that it had already planned for, and had blamed the teachers’ refusal to switch plans for the cuts.

NFT President Mary Yordon said that the BoE had refused a proposal, which involved extending the teachers’ contract.

“They demanded a two-year contract extension (to an unheard of 5 years) with raises we can’t afford,” BoE Chairman Mike Lyons said in April.

“What we asked for this year was essentially a status quo extension of the contract with raises in line with other towns in the area that have already been negotiated,” Yordon said in May.

Mayor Harry Rilling reached out to both sides on Tuesday, through Assistant Laoise King, and an agreement was reached to discuss the matter Friday.

NPS Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams released the following statement just before 6 p.m.:

“The Norwalk Board of Education and Norwalk Federation of Teachers have reached a tentative agreement on the transition of NFT members to the CT 2.0 Healthcare Plan.

“The agreement includes a one year contract extension into 2019-20, with a salary increase of 2.65%, in addition to modification of work rules.

“The agreement will restore Kindergarten aide positions as well as middle school music teachers to the 2017-18 budget, and avoid layoffs of personnel.

“The Board of Education will vote on the reconciled 2017-18 budget on Tuesday, June 27, a tentative date for ratification by the teachers is set for September 5, 2017.

“The parties express gratitude to Mayor Rilling for facilitating this agreement.”

Rilling followed with a statement of his own:

“I would like to thank the Board of Education and Norwalk Federation of Teachers for coming to the table today. They put aside their differences in the spirit of putting our students first and were able to come to a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution which will enable the Board to avoid devastating cuts to our kindergarten aides and the middle school music program.

“This agreement would not have been possible without the efforts of my Chief of Staff, Laoise King. I asked her to step in, and she was able to bring the parties together and facilitate an agreement which avoids layoffs and saves taxpayers money while recognizing and respecting our teachers.

“Good job all around!”

Comments

11 responses to “NFT, Norwalk BoE reach agreement – ending budget crisis”

  1. M. Murray

    That’s how it should have been done from the beginning. Reopening the contract should be give and take from both sides, not just one side making demands.

  2. Kay Anderson

    Look what happens when adults talk with one another. Thank you to the Teacher’s Union, the Board of Ed, and Mayor Rilling. Our City won with the expertise Laoise King brought forth to bring the parties together.

  3. Patrick McAuliffe

    We are all quick to criticize, let’s take a moment to share our appreciation for the BOE to change course and sit down with the NFT. It’s a very reasonable, moderate agreement. It’s not so easy to change course when you are so far down a path, kudos to all.

  4. Tish

    A welcome relief and a reasonable outcome. thanks to all for trying again. I hope lessons have been learned.

  5. Donna

    Wonderful news. Thanks to all parties involved.

  6. Mitch Palais

    Charter schools

    We need more competition to keep NFT’s demands in check.

  7. anns russo

    Wow, what a non event ending to this three ring circus…

    Rilling should not be mentioned in this as a person who had their hands in this other than he really didn’t do a damn thing. If he thinks the people of Norwalk are THAT naïve enough to think he “brought” these teams together…

    If anything, this was a political stunt on his part (as Duff does) and nothing more than a photo op for his upcoming campaign…. which begs us to continue to question his campaign donations outside of Norwalk AND the state of Connecticut and how most of them are developers that can profit if Rilling “can convince” CC/Planning and Zoning to change accordingly.

    Is Nancy going to delve deeper? Or is if it only a republican (Mocchia) that she is so righteous?

  8. MarjorieM

    Angry with the NFT? Air your dirty laundry on NON. It’s such a mature way of solving problems. NOT!

  9. Bob Welsh

    Anna Russo:

    You know about Mayor Rilling’s campaign contributions because you read about them on Nancy on Norwalk. You’d like to hear more about this story. So would I.

    When Mark Chapman died, Nancy’s workload increased tremendously. Hopefully you agree that Nancy has risen to the challenge, and that it is admirable and fortunate that she continues to shine a light on Norwalk. I’m unaware of any journalist anywhere who covers three beats, does special reports, and handles web site administration.

    I invite you to be part of the NON board’s efforts to raise enough money to fairly compensate Nancy for her work, and to hire additional reporting staff, so that NON can provide more of the important coverage you desire. Should you wish to discuss this further, please write to Nancy and ask her to provide you with my contact information.

    Warmly,

    Bob Welsh
    NON Board Member

  10. Debora Goldstein

    Lets just see what the community is traumatized with when the health coverage increases by double digits again.

  11. John ONeill

    Is there a way for a naive taxpayer to find out exactly what’s in the Teachers’ agreement.. It would be great to have simple examples of teachers’ salary/benefits spelled out so we can understand their situation..

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