Ansonia’s Board of Alderman and the city’s Board of Education agreed upon a settlement Monday night in its budget battle, and Tuesday afternoon they made it legal.
The two parties met in Superior Court in Derby to take their time finalizing the settlement with attorneys.
The settlement involves a one-time deal of the city giving $500,000 to the Board of Education for the current fiscal year, which will be spent on specific items, including special education tuition and payroll expenses.
This settlement is meant to resolve the lawsuit surrounding $600,000 in funding the Board of Education said was illegally cut from the education budget.
The Board of Alderman said they originally allocated that amount to the district without knowing if the district would receive state funding. When the district did get the funding, the $600,000 from the city was taken back.
Lawyers representing both sides held their ground on the conflict, ut said they wanted to resolve the issue for students.
”The central allegation in our complaint is that 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 was to protect the school year and make sure that we could complete it, so that’s the nature of compromise," explained Joe McQuade, the attorney representing the Ansonia Board of Education.
”This is all about transparency. If, in fact, they need the money, then they need the money, but show us that you need it, and you can’t just say it. You gotta question when you have a district with about 2400 students with more than about 440 employees," said Vincent Marino, the attorney representing the City of Ansonia.
Rachel Vogt, an Ansonia mother with a daughter in the school district, said if worse comes to worse, she’ll consider private education for her daughter.
Vogt said she’s disappointed by the school district’s and city’s lack of communication.
“I haven’t gotten anything in her folder from school about any information,” Vogt said, “so really, the only information I’m really getting is from Facebook and news outlets.”
“It’s not about what’s angered me,” said Tabitha Darrow, a mother of two in the Ansonia public school district. “It’s about what’s best for our children. And what’s best for our children is not to be fighting about the budget at the end of the year.”