Treasurer: Norwalk schools needs to be 'cautious' with spending

Cary Ashby • Nov 16, 2019 at 8:22 AM

Due to state education funds being frozen, Norwalk City Schools is looking at deficit spending throughout its five-year forecast.

“The state has frozen the funding to the school districts. There is no new general operating money,” said treasurer Joyce Dupont, who based her forecast solely on the operating money in the general fund. “By law, that’s all you can base it on.”

State funding has been frozen to reflect money from the 2018-’19 school year.

“I just couldn’t wrap my head around it,” said Dupont, who shared her five-year forecast with the school board Wednesday and stressed that Norwalk receives a majority of its funding from the state.

Ultimately, Dupont told board members the district needs to be careful how it spends money over the next five years, but there’s no reason to panic.

“We need to be cautious,” the treasurer added.

Board member John Lendrum, who told Dupont she did “a great job as always” with the forecast, said it seemed like she talked herself into a recession by being so conservative with her numbers.

The board, in other financial action, accepted the lowest bids from Cardinal Bus Sales & Service Inc. for two, 84-passenger Puller Blue school buses at $99,344 each. Board members approved the bid and purchase process at an earlier meeting.

In other action Wednesday, the board:

• Heard Kelly Ross, director of support of services, honor cook helper Karen McCall, who is retiring after 21 years of service to the district.

• Allowed the Norwalk Public Library to appoint Tony Schaffer as a new library board trustee for a vacated term through Dec. 31, 2025.

• Approved an intermittent Family Medical Leave Act-related absence for Kathleen Mirtes, who is a cook helper and transportation aide. Her absence began about Oct. 10.

• Accepted the retirement of treasurer’s assistant Barbara Stang, who has worked for the district since May 2002. Her retirement will be effective March 1. Dupont, while presenting the treasurer’s report, joked with board members they didn’t have to accept Stang’s retirement.

• Accepted two donations: $1,000 from Blue Chip Machine & Tool, Ltd. to Nerd Nation (aka the Norwalk High School robotics club) and $500 from the Norwalk Lions Club to the NHS swimming team.

• Granted permission for the varsity wrestling team and coaches to travel and stay overnight so they can participate on Sundays for the following tournaments: Brecksville Invitational (Dec. 29-30), J.C. Gorman (Jan. 3-4) and Napoleon Duals (Jan. 17-18).

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