NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk.DailyVoice.com accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Letters may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor,
At 8 p.m. Tuesday the Common Council will take up a resolution that could provide as much as $1.8 million dollars in funding for the Norwalk Public Schools. This is a critical time for Norwalk and its public schools. Last Thursday the Board of Education reconciled $7.7 million in budget reductions. Included in this reconciliation was the loss of 25 teachers, 10 elementary assistant principals, 12 elementary utility aides, 12 elementary and two middle school library aides and 4 teaching assistants at Columbus. The reconciliation also reduced all high school housemasters and middle school assistant principals to 11 months. At the middle school level the team approach to teaching will no longer be a part of the program and team leaders will no longer exist. The full reconciliation eliminates 47 teaching positions and many support staff. Also eliminated are 13 administrative positions – all except one are school based. This is only a partial list of what will be gone. I don’t think anyone believes that the Norwalk Public Schools can deliver a quality education to the 11,000 children under this plan. To allow this plan to be enacted will devastate the Norwalk Public Schools.
Not a pretty picture and one that is not good for the schools and not good for the city of Norwalk. We have already discussed how we got in this desperate situation at many meetings and we will continue to search for answers about how the Board of Education came up $4 million short for 2011-12. The answers to these questions are important and should be pursued so we never have this happen again.
Right now the matter before us is, how do we save the system? If the resolution before the Council were to pass, and then be approved by the Board of Estimate and Taxation, we would be able to restore almost all of the cuts mentioned above. We can put teachers back in the classroom so we don’t have class sizes of 28 or 29 students in the elementary schools. We can restore the library aides and we can restore the elementary assistant principals. We can do that and much more.
To do this we need to get the reconciliation amount back to the approved level of $5.9 million. To many even that is a dramatic underfunding of the schools. It is time for the city to do the right thing for the students of the Norwalk Public Schools. It is time to forget what party you belong to and listen to the people. It is time to stop union bashing. The citizens have spoken loud and clear. The decision is in your hands. Please approve the additional funding for our schools. Stand up and save the day.