Tensions were high Tuesday night as parents packed the M. D. Fox School in Hartford to sound off on the proposed budget cuts being considered by the Board of Education.
With a $30 million budget gap, the district is scrambling to come up with the money after years of flat funding. It is a gap the city and the state cannot help them close, and one that they say is the product of years of flat funding, decreased grants and increased needs.
“The reality is there are things that are going to get cut that people care about,” Hartford Board of Education Chair Richard Wareing said.
Layoffs are inevitable and under the proposed budget, 235 positions would be cut including nearly 100 teachers. Schools like Bulkeley High School would be consolidated and resources would be slashed.
Parents are angry that the cuts fall on their children and the people who educate them.
“Our children deserve the best,” Milly Arciniegas of Hartford said. “They deserve better than this.”
At the last public hearing before the board votes on the budget, parents expressed frustration that class sizes would get bigger and learning would get harder.
Board members said there are only so many ways they can slice it and the cuts have to come from somewhere. The city cannot give less to education, but the state could, which would make the hole Hartford schools are facing even wider.
The board is scheduled to vote on the budget May 17.