Ansonia school board threatens lawsuit over removed budget money - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Ansonia school board threatens lawsuit over removed budget money

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Parents and taxpayers filed into a meeting Monday night in Ansonia. (WFSB) Parents and taxpayers filed into a meeting Monday night in Ansonia. (WFSB)
ANSONIA, CT (WFSB) -

As the school year winds down, a budget controversy is heating up in Ansonia.

The city's Board of Education threatened to sue its own city over money removed from its budget.

It said teacher salaries could be on the line.

The school board and the city faced off on Monday in a packed room.

Parents said they want money to hire more teachers.

“I think everyone left perplexed as I am," said superintendent Carol Merlone.

Officials said there is no clear resolution to a budget fix.

The school board said the city has until Thursday to restore $600,000 in cuts from its budget.

It threatened litigation because it said it's illegal to take money from a federally-funded cafeteria fund.

Merlone said she can't make payroll without that money.

“I believe that most of the taxpayers here, many of them were parents," she said. "They were here because they were concerned how their tax payers money is being spent. And I truly believe, it’s not being spent on their students.”

The Board of Alderman approved the Board of Education's $31.8 million budget last year.

However, the city said it believes it should be able to make up the shortfall with the cafeteria fund.

"We passed our budget last year believing that the state was going to flat-fund our city regarding our Board of Education, so we budgeted $600,000," said Lorie Vaccaro, chairman of the city's finance committee.

Parents said they're worried about class sizes with more than 30 children in some of them. They want money for more teachers, not the other way around.

“End the fighting about the money and who took it and where is it, figure out how to get the money now," said Janessa Bennett, parent of a kindergartener. "Just find it, take it from somewhere and find a way to put it back in, so students can find a way an equitable education.”

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