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Letter: Where is Norwalk's Plan?

NORWALK, Conn. — accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Letters may be e-mailed to

To the Editor,

After much deliberation, research and talking, I sit back and ponder some questions. I wish to know what are the short- and long-term plans set forth by the city of Norwalk in terms of the education system? Through my research I have been unable to either obtain concrete answers from city officials or obtain any documentation that would shed light on this.

City records show that for at least eight years, the Norwalk Public Schools have been faced with a financial "shortfall." Every year, the schools plead to their parent community to "fight" for their school. Every year BOE public meetings are held and last into late hours of the night. Every year, the student body, educational staff, administrative staff, BOE, BET, Common Council members, the mayor and the superintendent are either at quarrels or "pointing fingers" at one another for the financial deficits.

I think it is best described as "replay" with different figures and different departments of our educational umbrella in this city. I question, "Where are the creative and innovative ideas and plans to prevent this 'replay' from happening in the future?"

Everyone can agree that the $4.5 million "oopsy daisy" released this May was unexpected, but what about the lack of funds to cover the $5.9 million? Apparently, the proposal made public set forth by the superintendent of cutting across all 29 schools in Norwalk was the best response to this situation.

I ask, where are the compromise proposals, the scenario proposals, the meeting feedback from the 4,000 educational staff members, the meeting feedback from the union of the 4,000 educational staff members and the union for the administrative staff?

Did the union leaders conference with their members the possibility of a wage freeze for two or three years as some of our surrounding towns have done? Was it ever considered to cut the middle school library aide hours seeing that "library instruction" is not part of the everyday curriculum? Was the administrative staff ever approached to provide creative and innovative solutions or compromises that would be the least detrimental to our school children?

Where are the requests to the mayor to investigate and reallocate funds for the schools preliminary to the proposed budget plan? Where are the requests from Common Council and the BOE for a long-term payback plan before June 11?

I finally ask, where is the unity? The precedence has been set by our leaders to "throw each other under the bus." Yet, through all the public speeches made by educational staff, parents and the city members, there is one common ground: the school children. We are all fighting for our children because they are the future leaders; they are our future law makers.

The facts to me are simple: the funds are inadequate for this city to progress in the educational sector, the absence of short-term and long-term plans need to be reevaluated and revised, compromise is avoided on all levels, and our school children are bearing the brunt the results of a faulted system. Lastly, if the almost $10 million is not here today, then it will not appear tomorrow, nor will it appear next year or the next or the next.

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