NORWALK, Conn. – The rebuilding of the programs at Norwalk Public Schools is expected to begin with the restoration of many positions this fall, including the much-missed library aides.
Interim Superintendent Tony Daddona said Tuesday night that not only could the Board of Education fulfill his plan to begin rebuilding the staff after the last year’s cuts, but it could afford to do a little more – leave room in the budget for three additional teachers in case they are needed to keep class sizes down.
All of that is being made possible by an additional $1.6 million in state aid and $1.2 million in unspent health insurance funds, officials said.
The city underfunded the school budget request by $2.6 million when officials realized that the governor had redefined grant money to send it toward education. City officials said they would work with the BOE if the state did not come through, but that is no longer necessary.
Daddona said he is working on a proposed amended budget, which he will present Monday to the Finance Committee.
In addition to the restored staff positions, Daddona said he will propose increasing Special Education tuition and professional service funds to $376,481.
He said his draft for rebuilding will include:
• A half-time math teacher for Nathan Hale Middle School, who will also be a coach
• The science curriculum specialist board members said was necessary for the transition to Common Core State Standards,
• A speech and language pathologist
• A district behaviorist
• An art teacher for Brien McMahon High School, where 170 students were said earlier this year to be on a waiting list
• Six elementary school librarians who will each work 27.5 hours
• Two additional middle school librarians
• A human resources secretary
• A building coordinator
• Intervention/utility aides for the six schools which don’t have them now. The aides can work with students and in the office
• The reinstatement of middle school intramural sports
The board will reconcile this year’s school budget and finalize the 2013-2014 operating budget Tuesday.
The board saved $2.8 million by going to self-insurance last year, Chief Operating Officer Elio Longo said. A reserve fund of $1.2 million was unused, so that surplus is being transferred to next year’s budget. The total savings in 2012-2013 is $4 million, he said, the combination of not paying a premium to an insurance company and the unspent reserve fund.
Therefore, the board expects to fully fund Daddona’s proposed operating budget of about $165 million.
Lyons congratulated the staff.
“Good work by Mr. Daddona and the finance staff,” he said, “to keep their heads about them as the craziness was breaking out in Hartford and come up with a reasonable budget that is actually going to let us move forward.”
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