After feuding for months over the removal of $600,000 from the school budget, Ansonia’s Board of Education and the city have reached a tentative agreement.
This agreement is to fund the schools for the rest of the year, allowing them to remain open.
On Tuesday, Derby Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens signed off on the agreement.
Under the tentative deal, the city agreed to fund the schools $500,000 in order to pay their bills for the rest of the school year, for things like payroll, student transportation, insurance, special education, and textbooks.
If there's any money left over, the city will get it back.
“The mayor and board of alderman did not believe it was fair to put the students and the teachers in the middle of what clearly is a simple legal issue. And now that those issues are satisfied, by the placement of those monies in a settlement fund, that in our opinion does not affect the minimum budget requirement, the parties now can review that issue with the court," said Vincent Marino, attorney for the city of Ansonia.
The school board originally sued the city to get back $600,000.
The city says it gave the district the money last year, not knowing how much state aid the schools would get.
When the state came through with more than expected in January, the Board of Aldermen voted to take the money back.
Without it, Ansonia’s school superintendent claimed they’d finish the school year in the red and have to cancel classes early before reaching the state required 180 days.
“We believe and continue to believe that we are correct, the central allegation in our complaint, the city’s action in taking $600,000 away from the education appropriation, mid-year, is not allowed under Connecticut law and while we could fight to the death over that issue, the important thing is to protect the school year, make sure we could complete it. That’s the nature of compromise," said Joseph McQuade, attorney for the Ansonia Board of Education.
While the deal would solve this year’s issue, last night the school board president said looking at next year’s budget, they’ll likely have teacher layoffs next year.
The city appropriated $31.2 million. The board of education countered that this year was $31.8. That should be the minimum, but they're also talking about that $600,000.
If that is the budget, the district is already talking about layoffs.
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