Ledyard Teachers Accept Furlough Days as Town Faces Budget Cuts

Faced with close to $1.6 million in state funding cuts, the town of Ledyard is scrambling to slice an already lean budget.

Most of the state reductions are targeted at education.

Since most of the state reductions target education, Ledyard teachers overwhelmingly voted to take a two-day furlough on Monday.

Ledyard Board of Education Chair Anthony Favry said that will save $171,612.

"It was a way to help the town, help the schools, help the kids," Ted Allen, vice president of the Ledyard Education Association, said.

Allen, an 8th-grade science teacher, said voting for furlough beats the alternative of potentially having co-workers laid off.

Superintendent Jason Hartling doesn’t want that either.

"Every layoff means an impact on students in the classrooms," Harting said. 

In fact, each full-time district employee agreed to take a two-day furlough, saving the Board of Education about $210,000, according to Hartling.

Overall, the board has approved $734,872. That includes a hard spending freeze halting the purchase of technology and supplies, not filling vacant positions, deferring maintenance projects when possible and only providing professional development programs funded through grants, Hartling said.

Both the Board of Education’s and the Town of Ledyard’s finance committees are working to come up with a solution to the cuts, said Mayor Fred Allyn III.

"We’re trying to come up with an equitable way to do it and it’s probably going to involve a supplemental tax bill as well," Allyn said.

Numbers floated around have been anywhere from one mil to one and a half mils, Allyn added.

The Town of Ledyard has made slashes, too. According to Allyn, it’s an even tougher job in the middle of the fiscal year.

Members of town government have taken furloughs, there’s been major cuts to town libraries’ staff and hours, a pause on replacing town vehicles and even the elimination of cable TV from the firehouse, he said.

But residents are not happy about potential tax increases.

“I think there’s going to be a ‘for sale’ sign in my yard, honestly. Because I pay so much in taxes now, I can’t imagine paying anything more,” said Lauren Startz.

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