Ruth Just found this in The Hour
Moccia the Magic Maker
I was amazed to read in Robert Koch’s article, Unions Urged to Accept Wage Freezes that the Mayor had magically come upon $1.4 million in additional Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) funds – a remarkable discovery on the eve of the Board of Estimate and Taxation’s public budget hearing.
The Mayor states that the $1.4 million in additional funding from Governor Malloy is meant to,“replace the (lost) federal stimulus money” and that he would graciously,“transfer that 1.4 million to the Board of Ed”. This would have been a fine gesture had a) the money actually been new funding and b) that the funding was meant to go anywhere BUT the Board of Education.
The $1.4 million referenced is a portion of Norwalk’s annual share of the ECS funding – funding that both the Mayor and the City’s Director of Finance, Tom Hamilton should have been well aware of.
While it is true that the State prevented a reduction in these funds for fiscal year 2012, the total amount compared to the previous 3 years has not increased or decreased a dime. ECS funding is distributed annually, to every municipality on a predetermined scale. For the past 3 years, Norwalk’s share of ECS funding has held steady around $10 million per year.
These funds are meant to supplement our school system. They are not monies meant to fill holes in the proverbial dike – you know, some extra spending cash that allows the Mayor to skim off the top of the annual Board of Education budget.
As a City that has a diverse student population with a variety of needs, the State funding is meant to add additional programs to enhance our school system. Time-and-time again this administration has used State ECS funding as a means to dilute our public school system, as an excuse to take additional municipal funds out of our kids’ schools.
If our schools fall behind, our property values will continue to slip, and our taxes will continue to rise. It is time that our Mayor stops playing games with Norwalk’s taxpayers, voters, and public schools. The blame game, Union finger pointing, and last minute gifts from the Mayor and his administration are not the ways to move Norwalk forward.
Norwalk Democratic Town Committee, Chairman