Schools could be closed to balance budget in Hartford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Schools could be closed to balance budget in Hartford

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Meetings on Thursday night could discuss possibly closing schools in Hartford. (WFSB file photo) Meetings on Thursday night could discuss possibly closing schools in Hartford. (WFSB file photo)

Hartford school officials said they are considering a plan that would close city schools to help with balancing the budget.

The Board of Education said they are millions in the red and they will have to make massive layoffs and possibly consolidate and close a few schools to balance things out.

Two meetings were held on Thursday night as possibly 200 positions could be cut and some schools, including Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, could be closed to help balance the budget.

“The city's situation is grim Hartford,” BOE Chairman Richard Wareing said. “The city's is desperate."

Wareing said the school's budget deficit is between $15 and $20 million. They may possibly cut 200 positions, which includes teachers, principals and staff. They are also looking at closing and consolidating schools. Officials are looking at 15 schools, although not all will be affected.

Eyewitness News asked Wareing if these cuts would impact education. "It’s hard to say that it won't. I mean the cuts,” Wareing said. “We are talking 9 percent of our workforce."

Weaver High School is currently undergoing a $100 million renovation project. It’s not clear if there will be enough money to finish it.

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in the city's north end has a massive renovation project that is scheduled for the next two years. But, there's a possibility they may scrap the project and close the school permanently.

Parents said they don't want to see that happen.

“Absolutely not, we fought very hard to get the name Martin Luther King School here. It didn't come overnight,” Hartford parent Precious Ross said. “It came during the 1960s when Martin Luther King was a bad word. We have no intention of letting this name leave community, not only that, we need good schools in our community and this is a good school."

As the meetings were held on Thursday evening, parents said they wanted to be heard and Wareing said school officials want their input. 

"Come to the board, make your opinion known, call board members, talk with them," Wareing said. "If you are active in your school governance council or your PTO." 

Eyewitness News was told the school superintendent will have a master plan next week. She's been invited to the community meeting at Bulkeley High School.

Eyewitness News reached out to the superintendent for comment however she did not return calls.

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