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To Support the Budget (or Not), I Need to Know...

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

I've been wanting to put down in writing what I'm missing in this year's budget circus. Year after year, I feel like every player has left much to be desired in terms of details, and this year in particular, I think it behooves those players to not play charades with parents. As succinctly as I can manage, here are 3 things I need to know from NPS and the City so that we can engage more usefully as parents.

What I need to know from NPS:

- The beef. What are the single biggest drivers of the 12% budgetary ask? Real line items. What is specifically influencing this drastic need?

- Measure twice, cut once. Supportive evidence around recent major NPS change campaigns, most prominently: school pathways and equitable grading. Parents are open to change, provided there's real merit. Give us the proof in the pudding on why these approaches improve our schools, and better prepare our students for academic success.

- What's at risk. Really. We understand part of this process is holding some cards close to the vest, but parents need a risk assessment. Every major organization, of which NPS is, has an order of cuts should situations warrant it. This is predictably fluid, but this can't be the "boy who cries wolf" either. What is Jonny at risk of not having next year that he has now?

What I need to know from the City:

- The "communication gap". What are you missing from NPS to make what you feel are informed decisions? I am told time and again that NPS is noncommittal with information and vague about financial details. What specifically are you missing? Lack of information cannot annually be a convenient excuse.

- Provide your own evidence. Do you feel the City is adequately funding the schools relative to surrounding cities? How do you feel NPS is properly or improperly using its allocation?

- Kicking the can. How can you be more proactive and part of the solution? What in the city charter and workflow can be addressed to provide for a more transparent and amicable process going forward? How can you help lobby the state for supplemental funding if required? The population is changing and will increasingly weigh toward parents with school-aged kids. There are real opportunities here that require vision, and the charter in particular provides a once-in-a-century opportunity to adjust the balance of authority and streamline decision-making.


There are my topline questions. I'll post answers as I hear them, or more details as I learn them.

Thanks for reading,

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Peter Berman
Peter Berman
19 gen 2023

Norwalk’s per capita incomes equal the CT average. Yet our public school teacher salaries are much higher than the CT average. Why the huge discrepancy ?

CT’s Dept of Education‘s website posts District Reports on how well individual Districts meet CT Edu Dept graduation standards. Most Norwalk students fail to meet these Dept standards. But most students in our surrounding towns do meet those standards. And do secure 4 yr college degrees. But not Norwalk’s.

Why can’t our BOE and Supt - highest paid in CT - do much better so most of our students meet CT Edu standards ?

Our surrounding towns elect BOE members with management and financial backgrounds. Why not Norwalk ? No other CT School District…

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