Budget battle between Ansonia BOE and city heats up

ANSONIA -- Thursday night Ansonia's Board of Apportionment and Taxation came face-to-face with concerned parents and teachers.

"I am overwhelmed by the amount of people who came out for education today" said Ansonia Superintendent Dr. Carol Merlone.

She claims this meeting is a big deal. Earlier in the week, Ansonia Board of Education officially filed their lawsuit against the city for the $600,000 the Ansonia Board of Alderman voted to take away from the BOE's budget.

Thursday night, parents and teachers voiced concerns about the threat of overcrowded classrooms, a lack of teachers as well as other issues.

Parents weren't the only speakers.

Alderman Phillip Tripp was front and center alleging the city's mishandling of money.

“I’ve got some information. The city side of the budget has been over spent by the mayor’s office by over $1 million. They’ve got a $1 million hole in their budget and they’re looking for a way to plug that hole in their budget. So what do you do? Oh, the board of education has got a lot of money let’s reach back and grab $600,000 from the board of education," said Tripp.

Even Alderman Kevin O'Brien recanted a former decision.

“Full disclosure. I was one of the 13 alderman that voted to take that money back. I’m telling you right now, I made a mistake. That was wrong.”

The meeting was initiated by Mayor David Cassetti. He said he needed information from residents.

“The state of Connecticut left us in a bind. And I’m really concerned about that. I need the input from the people to see which direction we’re going to go," said Cassetti.

After FOX61 spoke with the chair of the Board of Apportionment and Taxation, it appears the decision to stick with the original vote that stripped away the money from the board of education was not going to be altered.

"It could have been, we have an opportunity, but we’re following the recommendations from our comptroller, our finances. This is what we believed had to be done," said Apportionment and Taxation chair David King.

Now, the board of alderman will have to vote on the original decision to strip away the funds at their next meeting.