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Mar 212010

Currently, the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) and the Board of Education (BOE) are in discussions over Norwalk’s 2010-11Education Budget.  Due to the severe economic climate that has impacted cities across the country, Fred Wilms and the BET have asked Mike Nast and the BOE to cut its proposed 2010-11 school district budget by approximately $5M.

In January, the BOE voted 7-2 in favor of forwarding the original ‘bare bones budget’ to the City without a great deal of deliberation.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that it was bare bones.  Since then, the district has been working feverishly to re-examine the budget.  We are fortunate to now have Mike Nast, (if only temporarily) at the helm.  He and his team have thus far come up with approximately $3M in cuts through a variety of measures…but unfortunately still have further to go.  We now find ourselves faced with how to deal with the additional $2M gap if they are to meet the BET’s request.

Norwalk, like every other city in America is facing severe economic challenges.  Kansas City, MO for example, is closing half their schools. It’s bad, it’s painful.  It’s real.  The unfortunate reality is that Norwalk, again like other urban school districts across America is facing real reform challenges in terms of driving up its student achievement, through more effective leadership and adult accountability.  Norwalk’s unique circumstances unfortunately point to a BOE that is still ‘storming’ post election and while getting close, still has no permanent superintendent and strong leadership.  However, despite having hit bottom with our scores, things ARE actually improving in many Norwalk schools and the achievement gap is starting to close, though there is still much work to be done.

There are a series of meetings taking place this coming week that we encourage you to attend:

Mon. March 22nd     

  • PTO Council Meeting at Marvin Elementary @ 7 pm
  • BET Meeting to review BOE Budget at City Hall Room 231 @ 7:30 pm

 Tues. March 23rd     

  • Parent Budget Forum with Michael Nast at City Hall Room A 330 @ 7:30 pm

 Wed.  March 24th    

  • BET Public Hearing  Re: City Operating Budget at City Hall Concert Hall @ 7pm        

We still don’t know how the numbers are going to fall out and what may or may not get cut and how it will impact our children.  But parents and taxpayers – you do have a say.   If you can’t make it to one of the meetings, you can still let your voices be heard.   We are conducting a survey and asking for your opinions. Please visit our SURVEY web page and take the Red Apples of Norwalk School Budget survey. You can also find a link to the Board of Education meetings on our site.  Let us know what you think and we will share the results of this survey on our website and via the local media.

Thank you for your participation.