Norwalk Council: Board Of Education Spending 'In Range'

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From the left, Common Council members John Igneri, Jerry Petrini and Doug Hempstead Monday listen to the proposed school spending plan for next year. Photo Credit: Alfred Branch

NORWALK, Conn. – Educators could have a little more money to work with next year, Norwalk Common Council members said Monday after studying the Board of Education’s proposed spending plan for the 2013-14 school year.

The board is seeking a 3.4 percent spending increase next year, or nearly $5.5 million more than this year to bring the request to $164.9 million. The proposed budget attempts to restore some of the items and positions lost last year when the school system discovered a $4 million financial shortfall that led to some drastic cuts.

During a joint meeting of council’s and board’s finance committees, called by Council President Doug Hempstead, council members appeared to be amenable to the board’s spending request, but they did not endorse the measure. The council will have final say on the amount the board receives but does not recommend how the money should be spent.

“I’m generally comfortable with the request because they’re able to better explain it,” Hempstead said following the two-hour-plus long meeting where interim Superintendent Tony Daddona and other education officials presented the spending plan. “It’s in range of what some were thinking.”

Hempstead was quick to add that city officials still do not know how much money Norwalk will receive from the state to help offset education and other expenses next year, which means school and other spending proposals could potentially mean a tax increase for residents.

“What I’ve been told is that if all our departments receive what they want taxes could go up 5.5 to 6 percent,” Hempstead said. “So, we’re all very cognizant of that, which could lead to some tough decisions.”

Council member Jerry Petrini agreed. “It’s very difficult for us to fund this budget when we’re still waiting to hear from the state,” he said.

Overall, many of the 11 council members at the meeting appeared to be impressed with the depth with which the education officials explained the rationale behind the spending request. Daddona explained that the board heard from numerous parents on the priorities for the budget, including bringing in additional library aides at the elementary level.

“I think it’s fair and in line,” said council Majority Leader Michelle Maggio. “No one wants to see anyone lose jobs.” 

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Comments (7)

Norwalker:

The interim superintendent is a 30 year insider. The union want him. If that is the best we can do, than we deserve what we get. Too bad for the kids.

sononeknows:

I think it’s fair and in line,” said council Majority Leader Michelle Maggio. “No one wants to see anyone lose jobs

Tell that to those trash guys in Norwalk.

What a joke LAZ now has many employees now that were never part of the takeover and that is fair to those in Norwalk.Have to live in NJ and speak no English to work for LAZ suppose that is fair for Norwalk taxpayers as well.

Firemen must go to pay for things Norwalk taxpayers never agreed too,It was a handful of misinformed council members who decided what Norwalk needed,we are lucky one of them is gone its the rest of them left who should take the same route as that other one who left when it got real.Lets see how the fire dept budget goes this year with one less council member.

Only big layoffs will result in poor planing by our Republican dream team.Odd how nothing matters what Doug says his orders come from within city hall.He is a smart guy giving up leadership in a year that is going to be wild.

To think the push a couple of years ago was housing thank God jACKIE was not in charge of that push the cost years later with no more tax revenue would be devastating to Norwalk.

Drewt008:

I'm starting to agree that I think DaDonna should stay on as full superintendent. I wish that he would reconsider his decision. I am also very happy to see the council and BOE are in agreement that the budget is within reason and should be accepted and passed without the normal in-fighting we have experienced year after year. However, Jerry is right that nothing can really be decided on until the State gets their act together. And of course we all know that we are still going to get screwed on ECS money. We just have to wait and see...

Niikk:

i agree we should give DaDonna a chance

admo:

Ditto

SchlMs:

Another feather in The Interim Superintendent's cap! Norwalk finally has a superintendent who works well with all parties in the city. So why the nationwide search?

sononeknows:

Why? He will run out of favors soon and will be just as ineffective as the rest of Norwalks best just wait and see.

How much money has he saved minus his new found paycheck?

Fist signs of trouble the door will be shown to him just wait,this is Norwalk not OZ.A search may not turn up anyone worth hiring we are talking Norwalks history.

With all the problems comes doubt if anything has changed until the next audit correct?

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