Norwalk BOE plans to restore library aides, other positions

A sign at West Rocks Middle School told the tale last October. (Contributed photo.)

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.”


4 responses to “Norwalk BOE plans to restore library aides, other positions”

  1. LWitherspoon

    Looks like Bruce Kimmel was right when he predicted several months ago that it would be possible to fund the Interim Superintendent’s full request.
    Congratulations to all who worked to find savings in the budget to make funding available for the additional positions.
    Administrators Union leader Tony Ditrio said in his latest angry editorial that the pay freeze for teachers did not enable the City to fully fund education. What does Mr. Ditrio have to say now that education is fully funded? That editorial is here:

  2. Bruce Kimmel

    This may be a first for the city, and a very nice precedent for future budget discussions. A first in two respects: 1. The BOE has been able to fully fund its request, and 2. the BOE and other city agencies, especially the city’s finance department, the mayor’s office, the Board of Estimate, and the Common Council, all worked together to make this happen. This kind of cooperation needs to continue.
    It should remembered that, in addition to its operating expenses, the BOE was provided more than $2 million for textbooks in the capital budget.
    Next year, we need to continue the cooperation and put an end all partisan gamesmanship and posturing on education issues. It is a very good thing for the city when all elected and appointed officials work together with the same goals in mind. There’s no telling what we can achieve.

  3. JC

    To be clear – they are restoring library aides – not certified librarians.

  4. What about a principal for NHMS????
    Bob McCain was a HUGE loss and the substitute principal who was just putting in time so he could retire,is history.

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