The Hartford public school system is facing a $20 million deficit, leaving district officials to come up with a way out the financial mess in a city that is already struggling. The recommendations could include cuts to staffing, consolidations and closings.
Parents, teachers and students gathered at Bulkeley high school in Hartford Thursday night to address how the cuts would affect them. Many were concerned the number of teachers would go down and class sizes would get bigger.
“We’re talking about the future of our children. This is going to affect our children,” Ada Casso, a parent in Hartford said.
Jonathan Swan, Chief School Improvement Officer for Hartford Public Schools, tried to calm concerns and explain that due to low enrollment and not enough funding, consolidation is just one solution.
Swan would not get into specifics about what positions would be eliminated, but said any staff affected would likely be dispersed elsewhere in the district.
“It’s virtually impossible that it’s not going to impact staff,” Swan said. “It is not something that people want to hear and I understand that, but that’s reality.”
The Hartford Board of Education says roughly 200 positions will be cut across the district, including some in Central Office with a savings worth over $1 million.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin says closing the gap includes taking a critical look at the schools that are at low capacity.
“You’re spending resources just on keeping buildings open that could be dedicated to educating kids,” Bronin said.
Parents at Bulkeley Thursday night said they understand cuts have to be made, but they feel blindsided by the decision to consolidate. They said so many questions still have not been answered.
Another meeting will be held for parents and students at Bulkeley High School April 6th at 4:30 p.m. in the library. The recommendation is expected to be included in the budget the superintendent presents on April 19th.