Ansonia will fight School Board if they sue

May 10, 2018 GMT

ANSONIA-Mayor David Cassetti dropped the gloves Wednesday morning.

“Let them sue,” said the former New England amateur middleweight champion. “We’re ready to defend ourselves.”

Cassetti remarks came just hours after the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously 11-0 (three aldermen were not present) to prepare for the anticipated $600,000 lawsuit brought by the Board of Education. City officials were conferring with a lawyer Wednesday.

Fred Dorsey, a Hartford lawyer, will represent the school board.

Last week the school board by a 5-2 vote imposed a deadline by the close of business May 10 for the city to return $600,000 it withheld in state grants.

The Board, backed by an opinion from the State Board of Education’s legal department, believes the action is illegal. They further believe the upcoming 2018-19 budget should include the missing $600,000.

At one point school officials offered to settle for $500,000 but that was rejected.

The city contends the money was more like a loan. They say it was to help the school board make it through the year while waiting for the state to determine how much funding it would get during Connecticut’s budgetary crisis last year.

“It’s too bad we could not settle this,” said William Nimons, the school board chairman

Chris Phipps, a school board member, hoped a settlement could be worked out.

Now Phipps said he was “disappointed that we couldn’t work it out without litigation and saddened for the children in our school system. Doing the right thing for the kids shouldn’t be this contentious”

Cassetti and the Board of Apportionment and Taxation recommended leaving the school board budget at $31,260,484—the same as it received in 2017-18. The budget is now in the hands of the Board of Aldermen who have final say.

“That’s more than $31 million of the city’s $60 million budget,” Cassetti reasoned. “Our residents can’t keep shouldering this year after year after year. I’ve got to look after them. That’s why I’m in favor of school regionalization. It’ll save millions.”

Meanwhile Lorie Vaccaro, the Aldermanic president said he is hopefully school officials bring a descriptive line item budget to their Monday night meeting with his board’s finance committee.

“I’m hoping its a fruitful meeting,” Vaccaro said.