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Teacher hirings highlight Norwalk school board agenda

NORWALK, Conn. – First they found money, including funds left over from last year. Then they found the teachers to spend it on.

And Tuesday night, the Norwalk Board of Education will be asked to approve the hiring of 13 full-time teachers, one part-time teacher and a social worker for a total of $823,000.

Some of the hirings are part of the restoration of positions cut two years ago when a budget shortfall caused, in part, by accounting errors forced the BOE to slice several million dollars from its spending plan.

Also on the agenda Tuesday are eight teacher retirements or resignations and one social worker resignation.

“I’m very pleased we can add back some teaching positions,” said BOE Chairman Mike Lyons in a Saturday night email. Lyons said the budget surplus is responsible for the hirings, which are necessary to control class sizes.

Another hiring is expected to be formalized at the meeting. The board will vote on approving the final contract with new Superintendent Manuel Rivera. The three-year deal calls for a base salary and annuities worth $250,000, plus benefits. It includes a clause that caused some controversy when it became public last month – a “performance pay” clause that could be as much as a 20 percent each year starting with the second year of the contract. The key words are “up to,” and there is no minimum. The bonus pay would be settled on based on Rivera achieving certain goals for student, staff and budget performance.

The deal also includes $16,000 in relocation expenses. It is called a loan in the contract, but that loan will be forgiven is Rivera is still the superintendent come next summer. If he leaves before the year is out, he is on the hook to pay back the $16K.

Chief Financial Officer Rich Rudl’s contract will be up for discussion and possible vote as well.

Also Tuesday night, the BOE will be asked to approve the new “Big Ideas” math curriculum, part of the conversion to Common Core standards for grades 6-8.

There will be some discussion, and a possible vote, on the Briggs school Our Piece of the Pie contract, part of the school’s turnaround process.

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