Schools scrambling to make due following budget announcement - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Schools scrambling to make due following budget announcement

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Tolland High School (WFSB) Tolland High School (WFSB)
TOLLAND, CT (WFSB) -

School leaders throughout Connecticut are scrambling to figure out how to make do with the money they are now projected to get from the state.

Within a matter of days before the start of the school year, it's back to the chalk board to crunch numbers.

'It has devastating effects to a town like Tolland, because all we can do is take it as reality, what I'm calling, these Draconian reductions. It makes children collateral damage," Dr. Walter Willett, of Tolland Public Schools, said.

Tolland Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Walter Willett said the numbers released by Governor Malloy will have a tsunami effect.

"We're 16th from the bottom in per pupil expenditure. We don't have a lot of retail, we don't have a lot of commercial. So these things aren't seemingly being factored into the equation and we're losing 20 percent to 25 percent, in this press released today, of our entire education budget," Willett said.

Tolland Public Schools had $10 million for a budget last year. The latest proposal would leave only $2 million, making it an $8.5 million reduction.

"It's an impossible scenario for the schools and for the towns," Willett said.

Tolland had about 360, as we first reported a few weeks ago, 13 were already given notice with the town planning to be $1 million below budget.

Now with the Governor's latest announcement, "essentially what's happening is we're going to be expected to make reductions bigger than we have ever seen before in a matter of days and weeks, when the entire process is usually seven months," Willett said.

And things are also not looking good in terms of cuts.

"A town like Tolland, a school system would have 50 reductions and that's probably a conservative number," Willett said.

That includes moving to full pay-to-participate sports, no world language at the middle school, and class sizes as high as 26 for grades one through five.

Parents are expressing frustration.

"Honestly because of some of the things that are happening in town one of my sons going to a magnet school out of district because I felt like he had better opportunities there," parent Karen Bresciano, of Tolland, said.

Dr. Willett said even if Governor Malloy's announcement is a push to get lawmakers to come to a concensus, the decision will come too late.

"We're going to lose months and possibly a year of education as we try to adjust this," Willet said.

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