Cuts Concern Hundreds of Teachers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Lauren Nicole
    200 teachers may be eliminated from Hartford Public Schools by next year under a proposed budget for the 2009-2010 school year.

    Next academic year, Hartford schools will have fewer teachers and staff under Superintendent Steven Adamowski's proposed $283.6 million budget.

    The budget calls for cutting 254 positions. That's eight percent of the Hartford Public School's workforce. 

    "It’s not good news, but it is better news than we had anticipated," said Ada M. Miranda, the Chairman of the Board of Education. "We had been talking a few weeks ago about 365 positions. It’s gone down considerably.”

    About 198 of the layoffs are school staff including teachers. The rest are positions at the Central Office.

    "We will all feel the pain," Miranda said. "But I think the way the cuts have been handled, we are staying focused on the bottom line and it's going to help us get through these challenging times.”

    But City Councilman Larry Deutsch says layoffs should be the last resort.  “The children desperately need guidance counselors and social workers. In our schools no one is really peripheral," Deutsch, a Working Families Party member said.

    The proposed budget cuts salaries by $14,830,660. It cuts supplies and textbooks by $2,019,656.

    But it also calls for $6 million to be put into a reserve fund.  “At this moment, with people being laid off one could say that’s significant enough to limit the reserve fund more than it has been as proposed now,” Deutsch said.

    School district officials say the reserve fund is necessary because it's still not certain how much state money the district will get, until the state legislature approves a budget.  Exactly how many teachers will be laid off is still being determined.

    The district says it will have that number available at a public forum about the budget proposal on March 17.