NORWALK, Conn. – The roller coaster ride that has enveloped the Norwalk Public Schools 2013-2014 budget process took another upswing when the state passed its budget including, according to an email from state Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), a $1.6 million increase for Norwalk’s schools.
The increase, Duff said, comes in the form of $1.3 million in a Priority School District grant and $326,590 in ECS (Educational Cost Sharing) funding. “Norwalk was the only district in the state to receive a boost in the Priority School grant,” he said.
That was good news, said Norwalk Board of Education President Mike Lyons, who said plans to restore at least some of what was lost in last year’s budget can now be put back on track.
“I can definitively say that at least part of the rebuilding can be done; we are definitely no longer treading water and will be rebuilding,” he said in an email. “Final number-crunching is underway by staff now to determine just how much can be restored.”
Two of the top priorities mentioned in the budget request submitted in January were intramural sports at the middle schools, plus six elementary school library aides and two middle school library aides.
Hopes of restoring some of the positions lost last year rose and fell over the past several months as first the city, then the state bandied about budget figures. The original BOE request was trimmed before going to the city’s Board of Estimate and Taxation, which reduced the numbers even more. Still, nothing was cast in stone pending the state’s announcement of how much it would be sending Norwalk’s way. Gov. Dannel Malloy’s plan would have sent the schools more money, but with limits on how it could be spent, while cutting its aid to the city. Mayor Richard Moccia said that would mean the city would have to cut its allotment to thee schools to make up for the loss of state funds.
In the end, the schools got the money to start rebuilding without taking away from the city.
The BOE will now begin to decide its priorities.