Norwalk hopes for ECS information on Friday

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk is in a holding pattern as a “wait and see” attitude prevails for those hoping to avoid layoffs at Norwalk Public Schools this year in the wake of a “recommendation” made at the state level.

“The mayor is saying that we should stand by and see what happens,” Norwalk Board of Education Finance Committee Chairman Mike Barbis said in an email 18 days after the General Assembly’s Education Committee voted to recommend a rewrite on Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula.

Under the new version, Norwalk’s 2014 ECS grant would be $10,999,197, state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton) said. That is more than the $10,672,607 Norwalk got in 2012-2013, but less than the $12,376,887 proposed in Malloy’s bill.

“Right now it is wait and see… We really have no idea what we will be getting from the state,” Barbis said in an email. “If we get as screwed as planned by the Education Committee, we will likely have layoffs.”

State officials said the waiting won’t last much longer, at least in terms of getting an idea of what’s going on.

Education funding is a priority for the governor, spokeswoman Juliet Manalan said. “We expect the Appropriations Committee to pass a budget this week, after which the Office of Policy and Management will work with legislators to reach a final agreement,” she said in an email.

News reports indicate momentum is building against the governor, but two local legislators say “wait and see.”

“I will know more about all of this on Friday,” when the committee meets, said Lavielle, a member of the Appropriations Committee. “That is when the legislative majority will distribute its budget proposal to the members of the Appropriations Committee, and we will see what the points of contention between the majority’s and the governor’s budget are. Unless I’m mistaken, we won’t see anything before then.”

State Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) spoke about the situation Monday at the Democratic Town Committee meeting.

“That’s just one committee, that’s one recommendation,” he said. “… The appropriations committee still has to bring up their numbers. Then, after that, the governor and the legislature have to negotiate final numbers. We’re all working real hard on that, we’re talking to our co-chairs, our legislative leaders, the governor’s office. It’s something we deal with every year. We’re going to continue to keep pushing as hard as we can. We’re all working on it.”


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