NORWALK, Conn. – To operate Norwalk schools next year, Interim Superintendent Tony Daddona is seeking $164.9 million, which represents a 3.4 percent increase over the current year’s budget.
Daddona’s proposal, which will be voted on by the Board of Education on Jan. 9 and the Common Council in February, seeks to restore several items that had been removed from this year’s budget after the district found a several million dollar shortfall last year.
Among those items are the addition of eight elementary and middle school librarian aides, an art teacher at Brien McMahon High School, a curriculum specialist, a buildings coordinator and three more special education staffers.
Additionally, Daddona is hoping to bring in six intervention aides, a need that arose after last week’s deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
“I met with six focus groups in recent weeks, and the keyword was ‘rebuild,’” he said Tuesday during a meeting of the Board of Education.
All told, the items Daddona hopes to restore would cost $1.1 million. The current year’s school budget is $159.5 million.
Additionally, he hopes to add another $1.5 million in other enhancements, such as special education programs and common core curriculum initiatives.
Mayor Richard Moccia, while careful not to endorse the proposal, said the figures seemed “much more workable” than the current budget, which had to be slashed last spring.
“My first impression is that the proposal appears to be closer to what the city and the Common Council wanted last year in terms of a smaller proposed increase,” Moccia said.
He cautioned that the state budget, which has not been finalized, could see an additional $15.8 million in cuts to programs such as magnet schools, after-school programs, school-based health clinics and other initiatives that Norwalk relies on.
“We don’t know how this will affect us, but we’re fighting for every dollar,” Moccia said.
Board Chairman Michael Lyons said he was pleased with Daddona’s request.
“They’ve tried to be very fiscally responsible with this budget,” Lyons said.