Updated, 8:15 p.m. with statement by OPM Secretary Ben Barnes; Headline updated 3:34 p.m. Saturday 4/20.
NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Public Schools may be on track to receive an increased level of funding from the state of Connecticut over the next two years, a press release from Norwalk Democratic legislators said. The increased funding, if authorized, would bring the total expected from the state for 2013-2014 to the amount promised by Gov. Dannel Malloy in January, though it would come in a different way.
The General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee budget includes an increase of $1.37 million in Priority School District program funding for the Norwalk Public Schools in both fiscal years 2014 and 2015, according to a press release sent on behalf of state Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), Rep. Bruce Morris (D-Norwalk) and Rep. Chris Perone (D-Norwalk).
The committee was expected to approve its draft budget later Friday, they said. The budget will proceed to the floor of the House of Representatives, where it will await further action, negotiation and amendment. The 2013 Regular Legislative Session ends June 5.
The Appropriations Committee was looked to with hope after the assembly’s Education Committee voted to overturn some of Malloy’s recommendations for revamping ECS (Educational Cost Funding) formula. While Malloy had promised an additional $1.7 million for Norwalk, the committee’s decision lowered that number to $326,590. Norwalk Board of Education officials said there would be layoffs without the additional funds.
Duff, Morris and Perone hailed the news as a positive development for the city and its students. They issued the following statement:
“We are very grateful to the members of the Appropriations Committee for including this important school funding in their budget, and we will work with them to ensure the funds remain in the final budget this June. This appropriation will help ensure that Norwalk’s children have the resources they need to get a good education, and to build a bright future for themselves. We would especially like to thank the Appropriations Committee chairs, Sen. Toni Harp and Rep. Toni Walker.”
Office of Policy & Management Secretary Ben Barnes also released a statement on action taken by the Appropriations Committee, as well as proposals made by the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees:
“The administration appreciates that the Appropriations and Finance committees have put forth proposals that are close to the framework laid out by the governor. There is a lot in this budget we agree on,” he said. “There are also problems that will need to be addressed, including the need to continue key bipartisan education reforms, to support economic development initiatives that will grow jobs, and to provide real tax relief for middle class families. As it stands, this proposal doesn’t get there.”
Barnes tried to put a positive spin on his remarks, calling the announcement “a good step toward putting together a responsible budget for the coming biennium. We’re confident that working together in the weeks ahead Connecticut can achieve an honest budget that does not raise taxes.”