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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 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 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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