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Norwalk schools raise lunch and sports fees, consider new tax

Aaron Krause • Jun 14, 2011 at 10:00 AM

In order to offset state funding cuts, the Norwalk City Schools district is considering placing an additional property tax request on the November ballot.

If voters approve the measure, it would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $152 a year. The proposed ballot item is a six-mill, $2,000,021.46 measure.

"I feel that this is a reasonable amount because of the economy," treasurer Kenneth France said. He added the district has not had to ask for an emergency operating levy such as this since 1994.

Superintendent Dennis Doughty said the district will experience $1.8 million in cuts over the next two years. That is the equivalent of about 32 teaching positions.

The board also unanimously approved cutting 28 positions, saving $1,038,872. The cuts include: two elementary positions due to retirement, one entry-year elementary teacher, two intervention specialist positions due to retirement, one principal position due to the district's reconfiguration, two middle school positions (transfers) due to retirement, one high school position due to retirement, one-half high school position due to retirement (this savings will double in the next fiscal year), a psychologist position with loss of extended time, a secretary position (guidance), a secretary position (main), five six-hour aide positions and reduction of extended time.

In other business, Dustin Brown, the district's director of support services, said the moves related to the district reconfiguration are "going very well."

He said he expects the moves to be complete by July.

In related news, the board voted to change Main Street School's operating hours. The school day will begin at 8:45 and end at 3. Currently, the school day begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3:15.

Board members passed the district's plan to cluster elementary students by a 3 to 2 vote. Starting in the fall, Maplehurst Elementary will house preschool, special-needs preschool, kindergarten and first-grade students. Pleasant Elementary will educate second- and third-graders while League will become a fourth-grade-only building.

In other business, the board unanimously approved:

n A 10-cent increase on lunch prices, beginning next school year. The average price across at the federal level is $2.45. Doughty said the district's prices is well below that. However, federal education officials want districts to reach that level. The district, however, can only increase prices by 10 cents per year, Doughty said.

n An increase in the participation fee for athletics. At Norwalk High School, it will be $80 per sport, with a $240 cap per family, per year. At Norwalk Middle School, the cost will be $40 per sport, with a $250 cap per family, per year. Cap includes combined fees from both schools.

n The roofing contract bid from C.R.M. Inc. for $88,650 for the 2011 Maplehurst Elementary and Pleasant Elementary Schools Roof Replacement Project.

n The resignations of teacher Carole Adkins, who is retiring after 31 year in district, secretary Linda Daugherty, who is retiring after 23 years, and maintenance employee Wanda Bays, who also is retiring.

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