Norwalk Community Shares Their Budget Priorities at Norwalk BOE Town Hall
After school programs, support for school staff, and improving school facilities rose to the top on a list of priorities shared by Norwalk community members at a Norwalk Board of Education town hall on Nov. 28 focused on the FY 2024-25 Operating Budget.
Norwalk Public Schools parents and staff members came together to discuss what they believe should be the priorities for the Norwalk BOE when putting together next year’s budget. Before they dove into their discussions, Lunda Asmani, CFO of Norwalk Public Schools, gave a brief presentation about the budget and its development.
“We’re hoping the feedback you provide will give us critical insight in terms of the things that the community at large see as essential for us to keep in mind as we plan the budget going forward,” Superintendent Dr. Alexandra Estrella told participants at the start of the town hall.
Richard Lemons, with Partners for Educational Leadership, moderated the town hall and started the conversation by asking participants to list every priority they had for the upcoming budget. Participants were then asked to whittle down the list to top five before choosing the number one priority. Each group of participants then shared that top priority with the room.
Community support bubbled to the top first, a priority that included providing more after school programs for students and offering parent workshops at schools with the assistance of child care. Another group focused on supporting school staff, putting more personnel resources in the classroom and finding ways to increase staff retention to keep the best teachers and administrators in Norwalk Public Schools.
The physical condition of school facilities and the overall school environment came up in many of the conversations. Several community members with ties to Wolfpit Integrated Arts School specifically stated their preference to address ADA compliance issues at the elementary school building. Overall, participants wanted students to be able to attend schools where they would be happy, comfortable and safe.
Estrella and her team intend to consider all the priorities listed throughout the night while developing the FY 2024-25 budget as they are what community members find essential to create a stronger school district.
“I want to thank you for engaging in this process because not only does this give the board an opportunity to hear some the key elements of what we need to keep in mind as we plan forward through the budget process but it also helps my team and myself as we build the superintendent’s proposed budget,” Estrella told the audience.
The first presentation of the superintendent’s recommended budget will be given at the Norwalk BOE workshop on Tuesday, Dec. 12. The Norwalk BOE will first consider the proposed budget at its business meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 19.