Bristol Schools Consider Layoffs for Dozens of Teachers

The news of potentially dozens of teacher positions cut has Bristol parents concerned about what it could mean for their child's future.

"It's a lot. It's a lot. It's going to affect a lot of people in Bristol," said Kaylee West, whose child attends South Side School.

On Wednesday, the Bristol Board of Education decided to postpone sending out notices of non-renewal to 104 teachers and five administrators who have not attained tenure.

Members who argued for postponement said they want to wait and see what the board of finance has to say regarding the budget. The board of finance will meet next week. 

The superintendent calls it a "procedural recommendation" due to state regulations requiring non-tenured teachers to be notified by May 1 of the possibility that they may lose their jobs.

"That's very disappointing to hear," said Adam Whitlock.

Two of Whitlock's children attend Edgewood School, and he describes it as a fantastic place to learn. He worries about the impact fewer teachers could have on the quality of education.

"You don't want to see larger classroom sizes. You want to see as much dedicated attention to your child as possible- 104 jobs, that's a big concern," said Whitlock.

The district places the blame on the uncertain budget projections on state and local levels but noted that typically some staff is rehired after a budget passes.

The superintendent and the district's director of human resources plan to meet with non-tenured staff on Tuesday to explain the details of the procedure.

Parents said they'll fight to try and make sure financial concerns don't end up hurting their children's education.

"I'm sure that those at the state level have children and would want the very best for them as well. I hope they hear from the parents here in Bristol, Connecticut, that education is something we value very highly," said Whitlock.

In a statement, Board Chairman Christopher Wilson wrote, "It greatly saddens us to even be considering this. We are in the business of fostering our teachers as professionals. We should not be in the business of having to lay teachers off."

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