Norwalk school board going back to the voters with levy request in November

Cary Ashby • Updated May 8, 2018 at 10:16 PM

The Norwalk school board, after much discussion Tuesday, approved putting a renewal emergency levy on the November ballot.

The resolution passed Tuesday by a 4-1 vote with Ralph Ritzenthaler being the only board member to vote against it. This is the first step in putting the levy on the November ballot. 

The renewal emergency levy will last for 10 years. It will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $173.25 each year and a homestead $129.93 annually — the same as the current tax. 

Board member John Lendrum, who made the motion, said the levy would get the district to the 10-year mark — about 2025 — when the bonds for Norwalk High School will be paid off. 

Before the resolution passed, two others failed and were accompanied by a lot of discussion.

The first was board member Steve Linder’s motion for a 1.25-percent earned income tax for a continuing amount of time. That failed 3-2 with only Linder and Ritzenthaler supporting it.

Lendrum said he couldn’t support it for several reasons — the percentage was too high; it’s not representative of the community’s feedback at the special session about levy options; and “it’s a slippery slope” exempting some residents, such as people who are retired, from having to pay the tax.  

The second motion to fail was by board member Beth Schnellinger for a substitute emergency levy. She said she saw the situation as getting additional money from new construction as a “bonus.”

“It’s better than nothing,” Schnellinger added.

That motion failed with a 3-2 vote since it needed to be 4-1 in order to pass. Ritzenthaler and Linder voted against the resolution.

In personnel news, the board approved hiring Sarah Kipp as the NHS head volleyball coach on a special contract. She is a New London High School graduate.

“She’s our current jayvee coach,” Superintendent George Fisk said.

Also, board members approved a three-year administrative contract effective Aug. 21 for Elena Perez as a bilingual services coordinator. Fisk sad Perez and her aides have done “a phenonemal job” improving the district report-card numbers when it comes to teaching students English as a second language.

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