Norwalk Dems: Moccia did not support superintendents, school budget

NORWALK, Conn. – Mayor Richard Moccia was square in the bull’s eye Monday night when the topic of education came up at the Norwalk Democratic Town Committee mayoral forum.

Each of the four Democrats vying to be Moccia’s opponent took shots at the Republican mayor, whether it was related to the turnover in school administration or the cuts to last year’s school budget.

The question, asked by NDTC member Carolyn Fuller, was, “Education is one of the reasons people move to a town. Looking at the current Board of Ed and its contentious makeup what would you do to make Norwalk an achieving district?”

Former Town Clerk Andy Garfunkel implied that Moccia had stifled past superintendents.

“We need to allow this superintendent to do their job,” he said. “This superintendent doesn’t have to be someone from within. It can be someone from without. It needs to be someone who is innovative, someone who is free thinking and someone who can stand up to the political end, which is what’s dragging down our Board of Education right now, and has been over the last eight years.”

Common Councilman Matt Miklave (District A) said last year’s school budget battle inspired him to run.

“The fact of the matter is we had a fix for the Board of Education’s budget problem,” he said. “We put that fix together and ended up getting a bipartisan unanimous council approval of a resolution. A resolution the mayor actually signed – I know he signed it because I have a copy of it. Then he refused to implement it.”

Former Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling said he was a “little disconcerted” that the three superintendent finalists hadn’t been introduced to the public. Then he echoed the common theme.

“You don’t lose good people because of lack of pay or compensation,” he said. “You lose good people from lack of giving them the support they need to do their job.”

District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra also mentioned turnover.

“We need to change the culture of our school system.,” he said. “When you have six different superintendents in eight years, you know that you need to change how we go about our business on the Board of Ed.”

Mangiacopra has said that Moccia does not make his agenda known in Hartford.

“We need to ring the bell as loud as we can, whether it’s here in our city, around the region to our philanthropic community who are so generous and give so much, or whether it’s up at the state capital, letting people know that again, Norwalk is ready to be the city that we know it can be, and it has to start with education,” he said.

You can see it all in the video above.

Also in the video is Miklave’s apology for being late.

A special Planning Committee meeting was scheduled for the same evening as the forum. Miklave said before the forum that no one had reached out to his campaign to let them know about the event. NDTC Chairwoman said the event had been planned at the last NDTC meeting, a month ago.


6 responses to “Norwalk Dems: Moccia did not support superintendents, school budget”

  1. Oldtimer

    Now they are talking about the real issues. There is no excuse for having six superintendents during Moccia’s administration. Either the selection process is seriously flawed, or Moccia cannot deal with anyone earning more than he does, and undermines them at every turn.

  2. Tim T

    Old Timer
    I don’t think the process is flawed or Moccia not being able to deal with someone that earns more than he does.
    The issue is Moccia can’t deal with anyone that he does not have full control over. This could be why so many taxpayers have had negative interactions with him.

  3. Piberman

    Curiously none of the candidates have any good words for the historic Arbitration Award secured by the current BOE saving the City $2.6 million. Nor have they explained how the City has short changed the schools when our teachers are the 5th highest paid in the state. If the candidates propose increased funding then be kind enough to say they want to raise taxes to accomplish that goal.

    Curiously with education as a platform centerpiece the candidates have yet to announce well qualified candidates for the 4 BOE slots. Why the delay ? According to the City Charter the BOE is responsible for supervising the school system and the Common Council for providing funding.

    No Mayor in recent memory has been involved with the BOE. So just what is being proposed by the candidates ? Everyone is “for” education.

    1. @Piberman

      The Republicans have selected five BOE candidates for the four slots. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/?p=7780. They plan to nominate four at their convention.

      Dems say they haven’t finished vetting their potential BOE candidates.

  4. Piberman

    Yes the Republicans take the BOE seriously by already identifying candidates. And the negotiations leading to the historic Arbitration Award was lead by 3 Republican members of the BOE. The obvious question is why haven’t the Democrats taken a more vigorous interest in the BOE. It is our most important elected body. Or is the story just that the Mayor’s job is so attractive. Reportedly Democrat Interest in Council seats is also “developing”.

  5. Joe Espo

    Norwalk will never, EVER, see adequate education reform until and unless the NFT is decertified and Bruce Melion takes a hike. Never, Ever! Forget the mayor; Bruce is running the show- in control of 60% of Norwalk tax dollars. Any candidate for mayor, for BOE or otherwise – that professes cost reductions without a plan to vaporize the NFT is blowing smoke up your pitute.

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