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Norwalk School Chief Unveils Budget Soon

Superintendent Susan Marks will unveil her 2011-12 Board of Education budget next week.  Before doing so, she warns that this year, the community will 'feel some pain."  Although last year Norwalk implemented a zero percent increase for the district's $150 million budget, there were no job or program cuts.

"With the loss of ARRA money, the situation is bad," says Marks, referring to  $3 million of federal stimulus money that supplemented last year's operating budget. It is not being reissued for next year.

For the first time in a budget process, Marks, who started as superintendent in July, convened a budget committee made up of all the union leaders, a parent and central office administrators.  "I think the process was good.  Everything was in the open and there are no secrets."  Marks adds, however, that she will have the final say.  "This is the superintendent's budget."

Lisa Lenskold, president of the Norwalk's PTO Council , commends the superintendent's approach to the process. "Dr. Marks has done a great job bringing together the stakeholders. The committee has worked collaboratively and tirelessly during the budget preparation phase to improve transparency and ensure stakeholder representation during the budget process. I hope the parents and community will respect the process and realize that these are very difficult times."

The PTO Council has publicized several post-holiday budget meetings in which parents and community members can weigh in on the superintendent's proposed budget.  The dates are subject to change so please confirm them on the district's website .

* Dec. 21-22 ; 2011-12 Budget will be available to the public

* Jan. 4; BOE Meeting, presentation of the Superintendent Budget, City Hall

* Jan. 5; Finance Committee to Review & Discuss Budget, City Hall

* Jan. 6; Budget Parent Workshop sponsored by the PTO Council, City Hall

Do you plan to attend the budget workshops?  What cuts do you fear?

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