Ansonia’s school board has set a new deadline in its threat to sue the city over a $600,000 cut in its current budget.
In a letter dated Thursday, the school board’s lawyer, Frederick Dorsey, says the city has until May 15 to restore the $600,000 cut or the school board will file a lawsuit.
This post continues after a report from Fox 61 on the dispute.
School officials maintain the January vote by Aldermen to take back the money was illegal, and are backed up by a legal opinion from the state’s Department of Education.
They say if the budget decrease isn’t reversed, they’ll have to lay off teachers to finish the school year without going into the red.
City officials say the cut was OK because the school board received more state aid than anticipated when the 2017-2018 budget was first set.
The city’s lawyer said the opinion from the state education department misinterprets state law.
Members of both boards are scheduled to meet Monday, May 14 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
Meanwhile, the city’s tax board will hold a public hearing on the $600,000 cut and other changes Aldermen made to the budget — more than four months after they voted.
The move comes after the school board’s lawyer pointed out Aldermen took the money without giving the public a chance to weigh in.
Now a public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, May 17, at 6 p.m.
in City Hall at the Ansonia Armory, 25 N. Cliff St.
In a letter to the tax board asking for the hearing to be scheduled, Mayor David Cassetti said he would also ask the Aldermen to vote — again — on the adjustments they originally voted on in January.
At a March 26 meeting, Dorsey, the school board’s lawyer, had argued that the city should have had a public hearing on the adjustments before voting on them in January.
Not doing so made the vote illegal, Dorsey said.
The city’s lawyer, John Marini, said at the time that Dorsey’s reasoning was wrong, and that the city had followed the law.
But the scheduling of the hearing next week appears to be an attempt by the city to cover itself legally should a judge agree with Dorsey’s reasoning.
Marini on Friday maintained the Aldermen’s vote was lawful.
“He (Dorsey) made an argument that there was no public hearing and so the mayor’s response was why not have more public input?” Marini said.
Dorsey’s May 10 letter to the city is posted below.