Legal Rift In Ansonia v Ansonia Grows Deeper

FILE The war of legal letters continued in Ansonia Friday, with the school board’s lawyer responding to a letter written by the city’s lawyer — which had been written in response to a letter from the state Department of Education.

On Wednesday, the school district released a letter from the state Education Department saying Mayor David Cassetti’s administration was in hot water for approving a school budget and then taking back $600,000 in January 2018.

The state’s move came after members of the Ansonia Board of Education filed what’s known as a 10-4b complaint against the city. That complaint is embedded at the bottom of the story.

Click here for a previous Valley Indy story.

The move put the City of Ansonia, which funds the school district, in violation of education funding rules, according to the state department of education.

The state advised the city to resolve the issue or potentially lose millions in state aid and be subject to an investigation.

A city lawyer fired back with a letter of his own, basically telling the state education department to mind its own business, because the city and the school board are already fighting each in court over the $600,000 take back.

Click here for a previous Valley Indy story.

On Friday the school board’s lawyer said the Department of Education and the state Board of Education have every right to weigh-in on the dispute, and that the action of state education officials is independent of the lawsuit the Ansonia school board has pending against the City of Ansonia.

In addition, the school board’s lawyer accused the city of acting in “bad faith” by not following an agreement approved by a judge to close out the most recent school year in Ansonia.

The city was supposed to put money aside in a “settlement account,” and it was supposed to release money to the school district. The city is some $35,000 behind in payments, and the school board will be pursuing additional legal action, according to Frederick Dorsey, the school board’s lawyer.

Background

The city, by the way, said they were entitled to take the $600,000 back in January because the school district had been given extra cash with the belief that the state would slash education funding.

The school district didn’t see massive cuts in state funding, so the Aldermen took the money back. But the state education department has said several times the city isn’t following state law when it comes to low-performing school districts such as Ansonia, while the city pointed to a new law that allowed cities to change budgets after being approved.

Mayor Cassetti has also been critical of the school board’s transparency, repeatedly accusing the school district of not releasing financial information to the city.

P. Haberlandt Ltr 8-10 by The Valley Indy on Scribd

Ansonia BOE 10-4B Complaint Filed w SDE by The Valley Indy on Scribd

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