Overwhelming Turnout at Meeting Held for Stratford Teachers Layoff

It was standing room only as teachers, students and parents filled a Town Council meeting in Stratford on Monday night.

The crowd hoped councilors would spare schools any cuts.

"It’s scary because some of the teachers I’ve gotten close to," Candice Ryder, a tenth grade student, said.

So many people filled the room that the meeting had to be moved to the high school.The layoffs come as the town grapples with losing nearly $3 million in state aid.

"We need to get this figured out because the track we’re going to take is the wrong track to take," Katie Harrington, a sixth grade teacher, said.

Councilors explained they found about $2 million to slash from the town government’s budget. But the council’s vote on Monday will also require a slice of around $700,000 from school funds.

Many fear that could lead to about 40 staff members being let go.

"Right now I’m standing at serious risk of having my position change or lost mid-year," Ryan Harrington, a seventh grade teacher, said.

Another idea tossed around to save money was to require teachers to take two furlough days. But their union said it shot down that option, calling it too disruptive to students.

Now town leaders said it’s time for others to make tough choices.

"It is my hope that the union and the board of education and the superintendent will be able work this out and negotiate it," Stratford Mayor Laura Hoydick said. 

The union said the fight continues with the school board expected to meet next month.

NBC Connecticut reached out to the superintendent for comment.

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