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Cuts Proposed for BOE Budget

Teachers, sports and programs could go under the mayor's proposed school budget.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A will take place Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. at Hamden Middle School.

 

Teachers could be laid off, programs suspended and buildings closed early if Mayor Scott Jackson's proposed school budget is approved, according to school officials.

Jackson presented his budget to the Legislative Council last week, reducing the Board of Education's request by $350,000. The board had asked for $1 million more than it got for the current year.

The mayor's proposed budget is available here.

On Monday, the Hamden PTA sent home a notice with students outlining how those cuts might play out.

The board's approved budget included the elimination of 7.5 teaching positions, but according to the letter sent home Monday, as many as 20 teachers could be cut under Jackson's proposal.

 "Hamden will have to lay off 20 teachers, causing class sizes to increase," the letter says. "Small class size is a key factor in keeping students engaged and productive."

The actual number is closer to 15, Supt. of Schools Fran Rabinowitz said.

"There is right now a possibility of 15 layoffs with the mayor's allocation," she said Monday afternoon, including the 7.5 the board figured into its approved budget and 7.5 additional job cuts under Jackson's plan.

If the Legislative Council reduces the allotment further, then there will likely be more layoffs, Rabinowitz said.

"If in fact it is reduced more, then certainly would be more positions eliminated," she said. "But that's nothing I want to do."

Over the past three years, the administration and the school board has cut as much as possible in order to avoid layoffs, she said. 

"Now I've cut everything else - there's nothing left to cut" but positions, she said.

In addition, the Talented and Gifted program would be "indefinitely suspended." That program is for fifth- and sixth-grade students who have been identified as gifted learners and pulls them out of regular classes one day a week to attend a special program at Bear Path School.

That prospect sent one student home in tears Monday.

"My 10-year-old came home crying uncontrollably," Bear Path School parent Betsy Driebeek said of her son Kyle.

Kyle was identified as gifted when he was in first grade and is scheduled to be a part of the TAG program next year.

"My son has been waiting for this since the end of first grade," she said. "but they see it as fluff.

"When a child needs help, they have to give them help so they can graduate," she said. "I've watched my son be bored in second, third and fourth grade, and he was so looking forward to this.

" He was so happy and excited to know next year is TAG," she said, "and now it's being pulled out from under him."

Jackson's budget also revives the possibility that school buildings will close at 5 p.m. each day, curtailing evening activities at the schools. That is a measure the school board discussed during its budget deliberations.

Middle school and high school freshmen sports also would face the axe, another measure the board considered.

Thomas Alegi March 22, 2011 at 11:12 AM
"Jackson presented his budget to the Legislative Council last week, reducing the Board of Education's request by $350,000. The board had asked for $1 million more than it got for the current year." Mayor Jackson did the correct thing by reducing the BOE budget by $350,000. dollars. How let’s see if some members of Hamden’s Legislative Council think more about holding costs down then being reelection.
Don Charles March 22, 2011 at 11:28 AM
We all know that the parents will attend the Council meetings with all their little darlings and the little darlings will cry and mouth all that the parents have told them to say. As to the laying off of teachers, GOOD, they should get rid of some of the DEAD WOOD that are spending time supposedly teaching. As to cutting sports etc. once again the threats come, all the BOE has to do is cut the higher paying administrators salaries and some of the positions. This BOE is like the Federal govt. add add add more people and give them more money. PTA, come on thois is agroup of people who are not what the PTA was in the past, all they care about is themselves and listening to themselves make noise. When my children were in school and were bored, and they were, since the teachers weren't very good in teacing talented children, I put them in a private school and they did wonderfully. This little boy who came home crying???? maybe should be put into a better school system where he can thrive.
Thomas Fortuna March 22, 2011 at 11:52 AM
The cuts will never happen. The BOE always gets what it wants by blackmailing the legislative council. "Give us what we want or we call in the parents and crying children".
John P. Flanagan March 22, 2011 at 12:28 PM
Well, glad to see that the script is still the same as given out in Ed 504 (or whatever the Administrative course in "How to get the PTA to violate their charter and act politically by sending notices out on political issues. And how to flim flam the fiscal authority in an election year" is now numbered). Standard is : Threaten to cut more positions than are ever intended. Threaten the T & G program because those parents, instead of calling for the heads of Board members, are the most likely to go to hearings, complain and communicate how traumatic it would be if their child wasn't getting the proper educations. Threaten the sports programs and extra curriculars because those kids might go out to talk at the Council The BOE is always looking for a million, or so, more than what they have now. At least that's been my experience since I first served on the Council back in 1987. It's been consistent for 24 years. And, for 24 years the PTA has allowed itself to be misused and act as an political agent. Not much new under the sun.
Thomas Alegi March 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM
On page 14 of MAYOR SCOTT D. JACKSON RECOMMENDED BUDGETS FOR FY 2012. I read this:8888 Janitorial services for Police headquarters/Memorial Town Hall: The Mayor proposes to outsource janitorial services for the new Police Department facility, rather than adding janitorial staff to the Town's payroll.8888 I don’t remember what happened to the town employees who cleaned the Police Station and Town Hall, can someone tell me please?
Robin March 22, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Every budget year there is crying, BUT, the crying is done on all sides. The kids "cry" because they have to go to school and they wish for all the things a good school can be, (and by the way, they can write statements on their own without their parents feeding them, I've seen many of their speeches come from the heart) , the parents "cry" because they wish the best for their kids, and the town folk who have no school-age kids "cry" because the school system is not a service they must use so why should they pay for it.
Proud Liberal March 23, 2011 at 01:34 AM
I agree with most of the people posting here when I say the BOE always askes for more money as a demand of the town. I think they are to top heavy and should get rid of some of desk jockeys, We all know they have to many of them! The BOE has always been seen doing as they please rather then answering to the people of Hamden. Thank you Mayor Scott Jackson for trying to change that.
Morpheus March 24, 2011 at 04:10 AM
Morpheus Same ole, Same ole. Fear mongering and dire consequences predicted by the PTA. And School principles use the tax payer funded automated phone system for school cancellations to further increase the fear. Its not like the BOE has allowed this phone system to be tapped into by the local democratic party. Is this legal to use a town sponsored system of communication to fear monger and for political purposes? How many jobs in the end will be lost? Zero. This is all fear mongering. If any jobs are lost they will be through attrition. Kudo's to Jackson for making the cut. The BOE is still getting more money than last year. And, to quote the rival paper: In the current year, teachers agreed to a one-year extension of their contract in exchange for a zero wage increase this year and a 1.99 percent raise in 2011-12. All teachers received a step increase. What is a "step increase" and can we have someone in this actual area do some real reporting. I assume that it means that despite not taking a raise this year the teachers still receive a pay increase. How Much is this? This is not to be a knock on teachers. They do a fine job. The bottom line is times are tuff, and many are making very difficult decisions on how to get buy on less and less.
Kathleen Ramunni (Editor) March 24, 2011 at 05:49 AM
Hi Morpheus, a step increase refers to the teacher's level classification. Teachers move up steps when they do things like earn a master's degree or six-year certificate. Each step increase is accompanied by a wage increase that is separate from contractural raises.

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