Superintendents from public school districts across Connecticut gathered in Meriden Tuesday and urged state legislators to pass a budget.
Several of the 167 districts will be welcoming students back to school in just two weeks. But many have had to cut teaching positions and programs in anticipation of receiving less money from the state.
“Everything is kind of unstable so it’s not a great start for our kids,” said Beth Horler, a kindergarten teacher in Groton.
Horler teaches in the Groton school district. There, district officials have already made $3 million in cuts, including the reduction of 22 teaching positions, according to Horler.
“I teach my students to work together, to compromise, to listen to each other and then make a decision. I encourage our legislators to follow that same philosophy,” said Horler.
Fran Rabinowitz, the executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said she surveyed districts across the state. In the first 30 districts that responded there were more than 400 positions cut or on hold because of the lack of state funding. She grew concerned, as did Department of Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell.
“It’s a huge concern because the education of our public school children is a state responsibility. It’s essential that we have a budget so we know what the resources will be for the next two years,” said Wentzell.
In years past, district officially typically know by now how much money they are receiving from the state, but they don’t actually receive the funding until the end of October.