The Norwalk Education Foundation, Norwalk Mayor Richard A. Moccia, the Norwalk School District and the Norwalk PTO Council are asking city residents, businesses and organizations to lend their support as they advocate for greater equity in the state funding for education.
The organizations are asking concerned Norwalkr residents to sign a petition asking lawmakers to reconsider the formula for allotting education money to the state’s towns. Currently, Norwalk receives a much lower allotment from the state than similarly sized towns in Connecticut. The group is also asking supporters to join them at a rally for the cause led by Rep. Gail Lavielle, a representative on the state’s Education Committee, in Hartford on March 15.
The education cost-sharing formula is on the agenda as part of a larger Education Reform bill (Senate Bill 24) that is being considered in Hartford. Currently, the formula weighs property values heavily. For example, Danbury, which has lower property values but is in other respects directly comparable to Norwalk, currently receives more than twice as much ECS funding as Norwalk. The Norwalk group wants the formula changed to reflect changing demographics — increases in students who speak English as a second language and public housing students — as well as the higher costs to run schools required in lower Fairfield County, including salaries.
According to Superintendent Susan Marks and Board of Education Chairman Jack Chiaramonte, additional ECS funding for Norwalk will be used in the classroom to achieve academic results.
“We would focus these resources on closing the early reading gap by expanding to all Norwalk elementary schools the state’s literacy pilot program for K-3, which uses a literacy assessment tool to tailor reading instruction. Currently, the program is in two elementary schools. To bolster the use of these tools, a portion of the ECS funds would be used to provide targeted professional development in the area of literacy to K-3 teachers.”
Concerned Norwalk citizens and businesses are urged to sign the petition and show their support in person at the rally in Hartford on March 15. Visit the Norwalk Education Foundation website, www.norwalkeducation.org, to access the petition and sign up for free bus transportation.