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Budget

 

Click the link below to access the 2013-14 NPS Operating and Capital Budget documents including: budget assumptions, locations, object codes, grants and revenues.

http://portal.norwalkps.org/npsdepartments/finance/20132014%20Budget%20Documents/Forms/Order1.aspx

The anonymous and unscientific budget survey  below was initially conducted during the 2010-11  school budget cycle.   Results from that time frame were provided to the Board of Education and Interim Superintendent Nast and  new Superintendent Dr. Susan Marks.  While we have not conducted an additional survey since then, we deem it fairly safe to say that the national and state economies have not substantially improved since then and the  Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) formula for state funding, still does not take into sufficient account,  student demographics when calculating the amount to give municipalities.

Norwalk’s location, in the heart of Fairfield County, has Hartford  treating the city as a Gold Coast town, despite the fact that 47% of our 11,000 + students are on a Free and Reduced Lunch status.  Norwalk continues to stare at painful cuts, at a time when public employee health care premiums and post retirement pension benefits  continue to rise.  These costs represent 22% of the 2013-14 NPS budget, excluding salaries, placing an increasing strain on classroom resources that impact overall student achievement.

We feel that the results posted below are as valid today as they were when initially posted two years ago.

Responses Number
Reduce programs? 8
Revert to half-day kindergarten? 8
Increase class size? 8
Ask for union concession? 41
Reduce district staff? 17
Increase district revenues? 16
Eliminate teacher professional training? 6
Close or consolidate schools? 15
Redistrict students (by analyzing space utilization/current racial imbalance)? 26

 Only responses with Comments are shown below. To the left are the questions that were checked.

"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Close/consolidate"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

There should be a wide ranging discussion of options -- everyone has to pitch in. Increasing class size should only be an option in a worst case scenerio.

"
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"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Reduce staff"
"Yes - Close/consolidate"
"

In order to move forward everyone needs to share in the responsibility...parents, teachers, administration and the unions.

"
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"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Reduce staff"
"Yes - Close/consolidate"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

I'd like to see all the bargaining groups move towards an HSA model, like the teachers' union did last year. I'd also like the automatic step increases re-evaluated, and furlough days to be explored. I would look to increased class sizes and other program cuts before reverting to half-day kindergarten, in fact that would be the LAST thing I would touch.

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Increase revenues"
"

All of the above suggestions on union concessions should be visited. Both for teachers and administration. It is only fair they play by the same rules the rest of the world is coping with right now. District should not have to pay union head salary as it is a non teaching postion. Many teachers would agree to furlough days and salary freeze i've spoken to.

Increasing Revenue... What about stopping city garbage for the year and either going private or trips to the dump.
What about increasing taxes on commerical property, personal property is already being increased significantly and is high comparative to other districts.?
What about looking at central office and seeing what can be cut there and not at the school and kid level.

"
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"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Close/consolidate"
"

eliminate step increases in contracts.
close smallest elementary school

"
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"Yes - Reduce programs"
"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Increase revenues"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

I think class size should be able to increase slightly because class size is not the main determinant of learning success: it's the QUALITY of the TEACHER. I think the teachers' union should freeze wages for 1 year and show some compassion for their colleagues who will lose jobs, be grateful for the jobs and benefits they currently have, and hold their union leader accountable for his lack of participation in distict data team meetings and meetings in Hartford when 14 union heads from other districts in need of improvement show up and he doesn't. He is an impediment to NPS student improvement and should be removed by union membership. NPS should NOT pay any of his salary when $746 yealy union dues equals close to a $600,000 yearly operating budget for NFT. To increase revenues the district must rewrite the job description of the Grant Coordinator to Grant Manager and include grant writing in that job. The Human Relations job decription should be rewritten to include some communication functions. The schools are racially imbalanced, some have empty classrooms, others have portables. The district needs to use space more wisely and redistrict. Mano a Mano program at Silvermine Elementary has failed English speaking children and should be eliminated when classroom size by grade 5 is 15:1 with only a few English speakers and majority Spanish speakers. The 50/50 balance envisioned in the program model is not being met in upper grades because English children often exit the program when it doesn't meet their needs. It was incredibly mismanaged under the previous principal and the damage is too far gone to repair. This damage has resulted in most neighborhood children attending All Saints, Columbus and Side by Side Charter, and not Silvermine School, and this needs to be reversed, either by redistricting or changing/removing Mano a Mano. I suggest all classrooms simply receive Spanish instruction as part of daily curriculum instead of a separate language immersion program.

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Increase revenues"
"

Union concessions - salary freeze, early retirement

Increase Revenues - Hire a professional grant writer.

"
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"Yes - Close/consolidate"
"

Schools should not use racial imbalance for redistricting. It should be based on school age population.

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Eliminate training"
"Yes - Close/consolidate"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

I think we need to look carefully at class sizes and numbers of students in some of our schools. Several schools are over crowded while others have epmty classrooms. some of our schools have an overwhelming large minority population while others do not. We need to equalize our schools and the services throughout the schools.

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Reduce staff"
"Yes - Increase revenues"
"

Union concessions should be taken where the most amount of money can be saved with the least amount of impact to those affected. Which probably means a blend of all the options listed above. Salary freeze sounds good in that most working Americans have taken pay cuts in the past 18-24 months. No longer should the district pay the union head salary. If the union feels that individula needs to be compensated, the union can cover those costs.

Reducing staff downtown would need to be evaluated by the interim superintendent. No curriculum development positons hsould be considered. Nor would the technicla support person be a good candidate for layoffs.

Potential to increase revenues through grantwriting?

Just some thoughts....I'm not wired into this process as I should be. Have probably missed some obvious opportunites for savings and touched on some not so good ideas.

"
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"Yes - Increase revenues"
"

Charge a yearly enrollment student "tax free" flat fee ($15 /kid & $10/kid for a family of 2 more kids)
Charge a nominal fee for kids who are taking the bus to school: $5/year no matter how many kids take it
Increase fee for after school programs

"
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"

I don't support any of these ideas. What about negiotiating with the union to freeze raises for the next 2 years. Why are we looking at cutting direct services to the students?

"
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"Yes - Reduce programs"
"Yes - Half day kindergarten"
"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Reduce staff"
"

DADONNA, MORRIS VICE PRINCIPALS

reduce all staff paid meetings ex district data, pay for after school programs

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

We need to take a look at what the majority of Fairfield county has been faced with. Job loss, salary freezes etc. Why should the City of Norwalk be any different? Teacers and staff members can save not only a great deal of money for the city but also save some co-workers jobs by taking a salary freeze.
Go back to more neighborhood schools. This could eliminate the cost of busses.
Charge after school programs for th e use of our schools or have the "After the Bell program in all elementary school and let the city make the money.

"
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"Yes - Half day kindergarten"
"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"

Not all the boxes line up with the questions. Perhaps a space between each question would make it easier to view.
Good luck
You are doing great work!

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Reduce staff"
"

absolutely the district shoud stop paying the union head salary, the union is one of the greatest barriers to our children's education, for the forseeable future there might need to be furlough and reduction of staffing, there are some jobs which might be filled on a volunteer level at least withing the schools.

"
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"Yes - Reduce programs"
"

other districts in our area have 1/2 day kindergarten, this is because the children are still young and benefit from PARENTING
i wish my children could have gone 1/2 day, by doing this we couod reduce the cost of teachers, thogh busing might be an issue.

"
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"Yes - Reduce staff"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

consolidate part-time positions; board of ed/city hall staff; assistants at 1st grade level at magnets

"
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"

I don't believe there should be any of these above concessions. The city of Norwalk needs to cut other programs other than education. Our curriculum seems to have less depth than neighboring municipalities already.

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

Union concessions: a creative combination of all listed areas. Let teachers give their opinions - not just hear from union officials. I think most teachers would be willing to come up with ideas to help the children & decrease the budget.
Redistrict: needs to be evaluated anyway. racial imbalance exists, white-flight to private schools has thrown off old busing numbers (i.e. Silvermine).
Explore the idea of increasing magnet elementary schools, which would lead to a natural racial mix and optimal number of children per school as well as give each school a chance to carve out a niche in which they can excel. Examples of success = Jefferson & Columbus

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

Union Concessions: Early retirement for teachers or administrative staff who are not meeting expectations; that said, parents should have some input into what is expected of teachers/staff. One teacher I am relieved is retiring after this year is Diane Smith. Both of my children have been in Academically Talented. Ms. Smith has been their teacher. They have literally begged me to take them out of AT. Her interpersonal style is so dry I could barely have a conversation with her. Now that my child is in Ponus she loves AT; the AT teachers at Ponus really know how to bring life into the learning process.
Another teacher I would like to see retire is Mary Jo Pecora-Runkle. Of all 6 years at Fox Run, 3rd grade stands out as miserable for my child. Ms. Pecora-Runkle has a way of making children feel lousy about themselves - what is wrong with an adult who does things that lower the self-esteem of 8 yr olds?

Redistrict: Fox Run and Kendall are just a couple of miles apart, yet why does Kendall have children from the poorest families? Fox Run is so fortunate to have a great deal of parental involvement and volunteers. Kendall does not. Why? One reason is the parents are working poor who cannot spare time to spend in school. The children come from homes where English is not the primary language. Parents are unable to assist children with school work, projects, etc. They cannot afford to send their kids on outings. This is not fair; based on proximity, Kendall and Fox Run should be more evenly balanced.

"
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"Yes - Half day kindergarten"
"Yes - Reduce staff"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

eliminate teachers that have a job but do not meet the requitemnts to fulfill such jos...for ex. the current music teacher at columbus that cannot even play a musical instrument (piano included)

"
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"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Reduce staff"
"

Increase class size at elementary level

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Increase revenues"
"

The union has been the axis point for much of the frustration in reengineering the school system in Norwalk. the previous Superindendent was not ever focused on the BIG picture, he was focused on how he looked. there are many grants available that need to be obtained by the district, the individual schools cannot do it, and the City of Norwalk should stop pointing fingers, and get rid of Board members who have personal agendas. We are all in this together, education should be a paramount value and concern for all citizens, it is a quality of life issue, forget racial balancing, childern need to be in neighborhood schools with the appropriate support and guidance to make up for what might not be available at home. the After the Bell model is phenomenal, and came to fruition because two schools rocked the boat and refused to accept the mediocrity imposed by the administration at that time. We are paying the taxes, we should have a say, but actions do speak louder, and often more clearly than do words alone.

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"

I do not know understand or have any in-depth understanding of union contracts except that when I speak to someone in a union they seem to be speaking a foreign language. What I can't abide by is teacher's and administrators getting raises (steps + wage increases) in a severe recession and choosing to have other teachers laid off when they could negotiate to keep them.

"
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"Yes - Reduce programs"
"Yes - Half day kindergarten"
"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Reduce staff"
"Yes - Increase revenues"
"Yes - Eliminate training"
"Yes - Close/consolidate"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

Get rid of redundancy, (ex...too many curriculum overseers)
Top heavy staff.
Get rid of free lunches for admin staff at all their meetings.

"
************************************
"Yes - Increase revenues"
"Yes - Close/consolidate"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

The racial balance of all the schools is off. Why does one school have 70% minority and another barely has 20%.
Teachers in this town are undervalued. Norwalk and its residents don't seek to put their money into education. Understandable there is a fine line between wants and needs, but to cut teachers salaries will force many veterans to leave this town.
Downtown gets huge raises and the teachers/aides get next to nothing. Cut the fat up top!. Dr. Marks who has never held this position before is make the same or more than that of Dr. Corda. Come on people!

"
************************************
"Yes - Reduce programs"
"Yes - Half day kindergarten"
"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Reduce staff"
"Yes - Close/consolidate"
"Yes - Redistrict"
"

reduce the plethora of highly-paid, do-nothing administrators in the central orifice

"
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"Yes - Half day kindergarten"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"

we absolutely cannot revisit the idea of redistricting, yes there are schools in norwalk with high percentages of minority children, but those schools receive a tremendous amount of title one monies (in the high six figures) to provide enrichment opportunies and assistance IF THE DISTRICT AND SCHOOL IS MANAGING THE MONEY CORRECTLY.
neigborhood schools are preferable to children sitting on a bus for hours, this district needs to toss out the union organizers, get rid of the dead wood in City Hall, Bruce Morris???
and to focus on education children...we cannot do that by reducing staff, closing schools and spending city money on busing. Norwalk residents should stop throwing stones at the schools that work, like Fox Run and Rowayton, and start trying to mode programs and to find ways to facilitate support in areas where these schools are using parental assistance, oh yes, because they survive on the pittance of a budget provided by the city.....NO TITLE ONE funds helping there.

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"

I would freeze teacher salaries (most of corp. America is on a freeze and has been for the past several years). Assess Pensions and benefits. (In corporations, employees are reponsible for at least some portion of the benefits cost as well as putting aside THEIR OWN money for retirement.)

If job-share teachers are being paid and receiving benefits equal to full-time on a job share basis then eliminate the job share or reduce pay and benefits to parttime. (In corporations you need to have a minimum of 30 hours/wk to receive benefits)

Stop paying salary of teacher union head.

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Reduce staff"
"

the scchools need "boots on the ground and teachers in the classroom"
we need fewer administrators, more teachers and smaller class size.
our teachers need to be kept current, our children should be in neighborhood schools. if redistricting is an option, send those children who live closer to brookside, (like across the road) to brookside rather than overcrowding other schools.,

"
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"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"

District should not pay union head salary. Salary freeze or reduction. Benefit freeze or reduction

"
************************************
"Yes - Increase class size"
"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Increase revenues"
"

--Salary freeze Now(& long term goal: re-vamp the entire compensation/benefit system)
--Increase per person contribution to their healthcare package (it's pre-tax dollars & even a small increase adds up) -
--Why are we paying part of Mellion's salary to begin with? ~ GET RID OF it NOW!
--Why do teachers get OT pay &/or must confine any meetings/training to 'working hours'?) - it sure does work that way for my job or any other Professional (salaried) position I am aware of!
--With that in mind - taking away het another academic day from our kids (with already dismal achievement scores) is ridiculous! -- KEEP the Teacher Training - But 'after hours' like most people!

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"

freeze salaries, norwalk seems to have highly paid teachers with less instruction time than other towns.

"
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"Yes - Increase revenues"
"

The city needs to grow the grand list, get rid of all pensions for new hires and only pay those teachers great salaries that are performing.

"
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"Yes - Redistrict" "

It is amazing how little the people of this site know about how education actually work.

"
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"Yes - ask for union concessions"
"Yes - Increase revenues"
"

Eliminate tenure. Pay for performance and level of involvement.
Charge for some special programs and extra-curricular activities.
Seek more grants for ESL students.

"
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"Yes - Reduce staff"
"Yes - Increase revenues"
"

As a working parent of young children, I am appalled at the proposal to revert to half-day kindergarten. The only way I can afford to live and pay taxes in Norwalk with my family is by working full time. If Norwalk kindergarten became half-day, the added cost of child care would be extremely burdensome to working parents.

"
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