State budget cuts could affect South Windsor - WFSB 3 Connecticut

State budget cuts could affect South Windsor

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The layoffs could from the consolidation of Wapping Elementary School. (WFSB) The layoffs could from the consolidation of Wapping Elementary School. (WFSB)

The delays coming in the state budget is creating a backlog for cities and towns because they don't know how much state aid they'll be receiving.

That uncertainty is impacting the lives of teachers in South Windsor as 36 were laid off in that town. 

The town ordinance forces officials to have a crafted budget in May. Town officials said they are blindly crafting their budget without a state budget and firm state aid numbers.

Usually, South Windsor receives $13 million in state aid, but this year, Town Manager Matthew Galligan, said the projections under Gov. Dannel Malloy's original proposal, was six million dollars lower. The key word being "projections."

Because state lawmakers haven't been able to present a budget, towns such as South Windsor had to form its budget off of those "projections."

“It was a very difficult number because we're lean as it is,” Galligan said.

That resulted in 36 teachers being laid off, many in the art and music departments. Galligan said others come from the consolidation of Wapping Elementary School.

“There's about seven to eight positions I'm not putting back,” Galligan said. “People have retired. These are positions I need, and we're holding off.”

Parents such as Tina Williams said they aren't happy about it.

“Wapping is one of the best schools and the South Windsor school system has helped my daughter tremendously,” Williams said.

The delays on the state level are also affecting local police departments. In South Windsor, four open positions will remain unfilled.

“We're not going to fill until January now just to lessen the burden on the town,” South Windsor Police Deputy Chief Scott Custer said.

While Custer promises it won't affect public safety, it does impact other important services, because officers usually assigned to those, will now be on regular duty.

“These community outreach programs we've had, we're just not going to be able to do for a while until the budget improves or we get back to full staff,” Custer said.

For taxpayers such as Williams, she has some pointed words for the state legislators whose delays have already impacted her daughter's school.

“I will say, 'get off your butts and get this budget balanced,’” Williams said. 

As Eyewitness News reported on Thursday, if state lawmakers can't figure this out, by law, the governor would then take control of the budget. That would not be good for South Windsor because according to Galligan, the governor's most recent proposal would cut this town by another $5 million. That would make South Windsor officials go back to the drawing board, yet again.

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