The City of Hartford is facing a $50 million shortfall and the city’s school district held a public hearing to discuss proposed cuts and layoffs needed to keep the system afloat, including cutting 81 positions.
Two weeks ago, the district requested an additional $3 million, but even with that money the district would still have to eliminate more than 80 teachers and administrators.
The district also plans to freeze wages and change health insurance to prevent adding to the existing $26 million budget gap in the education budget.
Administrators are also discussing future school consolidation.
At a public meeting Tuesday night, district officials said there was a lot of uncertainty with this year's budget.
"This is a very different budget. It is frustrating. There is a lot of uncertainty with this budget and it's challenging not having enough to do the bare minimum that we need to do," Hartford Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez said.
Under the current budget plan, 81 positions would be cut, including 30 teachers. The cuts could affect Hartford school district programs from elementary school all the way through adult education.
"If they cut our full-time teachers, there's a possibility we won't have any night classes, and then I won't be able to complete and accomplish my goal of getting a GED," said Jaritza Rivera, who is on the path to become a registered nurse.
Last year the school district had to cut 235 positions. Rising costs and eight years of flat or reduced funding for the school district is being blamed for the budget gaps.
The city is asking to partner up with the state for help, but the state faces a nearly $5 billion shortfall for the next two years.