Job Cuts Could Come to West Haven Schools

The superintendent of West Haven Schools says the district is considering cutting staff in response to the mayor’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year.

The West Haven budget will not be finalized until next month and no layoff notices have been sent. But Superintendent Neil Cavallaro told NBC Connecticut that he and the Board of Education are facing tough decisions with the upcoming budget. They asked for an additional $1.7 million in funding, but Mayor Nancy Rossi said she can only allocate an additional $400,000, as the city faces a $9 million shortfall through next year.

Louise Martone runs a small business in West Haven and has had two children go through the city’s school system.

“I love the town I just think that unfortunately we found ourselves in a situation where there needs to be some cuts,” Martone said.

She’s now on the City Council, serving as the chairwoman of the Finance Committee.

“I think every elected official including the mayor should take 10 percent cut, it should go all the way down, listen I’m a council person, I’d forgo my pay,” she said.

Cavallaro said district staff has made concessions in recent years.

“We have several unions went at least two years without a pay increase, our teachers went into a new medical plan which saved the district and the city some money,” he explained.

But with only so much wiggle room in next year’s budget, teachers could be impacted, and there could be layoffs. Cavallaro said asking staff to take furlough days may be an option to avoid more drastic cuts.

“We would go to any one of our unions and say look in lieu of layoffs which you consider whatever we come up with,” he told NBC Connecticut.

Martone offered some advice. “He should look at his line items and stay away from the teachers and paras,” she said.

And Cavallaro has a message for West Haven’s teachers.

“I don’t want anybody on my staff now to start looking for jobs in other districts because I feel like I’ve got a great staff,” he said.

Right now the mayor is not proposing a tax increase. When asked if she’d consider taking a pay cut, she said she’s reduced staff in her office and did not take the city’s health insurance. The mayor also said she’ll continue looking to make cuts from city operations in hopes of avoiding teacher layoffs.

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