Norwalk’s voice was heard in the Capitol today when residents and city officials joined with members of the legislative delegation, led by House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., to highlight the incredible disparity in the city’s share of Education Cost Sharing (ECS) monies.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers stood with the Norwalk group for a morning press conference to highlight the cuts that were included in Malloy’s budget released last month. Cafero vowed to work with Democrats to restore the money.
“For too long the demographic makeup of Norwalk has been ignored when it comes to ECS funding unlike every other large city in Connecticut. The time is ripe to address this issue in this legislative session, given the commitment to education reform that has permeated the discussion in Hartford,’’ said Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-142. “This is a question of fairness.’’
“This is a bipartisan issue and a top priorities for the Norwalk Delegation,” said Senator Bob Duff, D-25. “I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder not only with the delegation, but with parents to make sure that Norwalk gets its fair share.”
“This disproportionate amount allocated for our schools in Norwalk is not only insufficient but also unfair,” said State Rep. Terrie Wood, R-141. “Norwalk has been forced to make substantial cuts to our children’s education year-after-after due to the short supply of funds coming from Hartford. I am pleased the municipal leaders from Norwalk could join us today at the Capitol to address this disparity appropriately.”
“We are here today because a longstanding mistaken impression has led to a grave and persistent inequity for 11,000 students in 19 schools in Norwalk,” said State Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-143, who represents the Norwalk delegation on the Education Committee. “The ECS funding formula has never taken into account the huge disparity between Norwalk’s property values and its median income, diversity, poverty levels, and student needs. This means that Norwalk’s students have been deprived for years of their fair share of the state’s education funding.
“Governor Malloy’s education reform bill provides an excellent opportunity for correcting this longstanding inequity for Norwalk’s students,” continued Rep. Gail Lavielle. “We have been working hard on a proposal that I will be introducing when we debate the bill in the Education Committee. Norwalk’s citizens have rallied to help do the work and show their concern, which is a real testament to how determined they are to ensure that new funds would be put to good use in improving education for all of the City’s students.”