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Superintendent & BOE Respond to City's FY2024-25 Operating Budget Recommendation

Superintendent & BOE Respond to City's FY2024-25 Operating Budget Recommendation
Dr. Alexandra Estrella

The FY 2024-25 Mayor’s Recommended Operating Budget presented last night to the Board of Estimate and Taxation included only a 4.5% increase for the Norwalk Board of Education, significantly less than the Board’s request for an 8.2% increase.

The Board and I cannot stress enough how the funding increase requested was not decided upon arbitrarily but after careful consideration and deliberation of what the district desperately needs to continue offering, which is the same level of quality service and excellence currently expected by our students, staff and families.

The 4.5% increase will cover little more than our contractual increases. It will not address the needs of our teachers who need more time to plan thoughtful and effective lessons for the betterment of our students. It will not address our rapidly growing number of special education and multilingual learner students currently enrolled and moving into our district. It will not provide necessary funds to keep our magnet programs growing.

We appreciate the diligent and hard work that has gone into the development of the FY 2024-25 Operating Budget by our own finance team and their counterparts on the city side. We’ve all shared in productive conversations to better understand the capacity of the city’s funds and the needs of Norwalk Public Schools. We look forward to continuing to work together to find creative solutions that will provide the necessary funding for the significant needs of the district that will perpetuate if not addressed promptly and fully. 

As always, we remain cognizant of the impact our budget has on taxpayers and the lives of the community. At the same time, the students of Norwalk Public Schools represent the future of Norwalk, and we must provide them with the educational services they deserve to become productive citizens. The health of the Norwalk community relies on the health of our school system. We need to invest wisely.