Bells ring in Hartford's new school year amid state budget woes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Bells ring in Hartford's new school year amid state budget woes

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Students were welcomed back to school with high-fives and cheers in Hartford on Tuesday morning. (WFSB) Students were welcomed back to school with high-fives and cheers in Hartford on Tuesday morning. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Another school year kicked off for Hartford Public Schools on Tuesday morning, this time without a state budget.

More than 20,000 students will be heading back to class for the new academic year.

Families and their children shared the day with Eyewitness News.

"He woke up this morning singing 'I am happy!'" said Darlene Robertson Childs of Hartford. "So, I am happy for him!"

Little ones walked hand-in-hand with their parents and waited patiently for the first bell of the year.

"I tell him, each year is the start of a new chapter in his life," said Jackie Bethea of Hartford. "I just want him to continue to make us proud."

Bethea said she works at the Rawson Steam elementary school, where her grandson Jaiden is starting 7th grade.

"I think I was just as excited as he was," she said.

At the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, students were greeted with applause in high-fives.

For people like Ishmael Turner, who dropped off his six grandchildren, he said the warm welcome meant a lot.

"I'm loving every minute of it," Turner said.

Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez joined Eyewitness News on Tuesday morning and said the staff was very excited to welcome the students.

However, she said there is still some uncertainty with regard to the lack of a state budget.

She said the district had to make some reductions, including 80 positions.

"We hope that we don't have to continue down that road," Torres-Rodriguez said. "Nonetheless, our students are here. They are coming to us today. And we are ready."

Torres-Rodriguez said she wanted parents to know that everyone in the district was in it together to make students successful.

Tayarisha Stone, principal of the Rawson school in Hartford, echoed that.

"The teachers are all geared up with their signs [and] with their names to welcome our students back," Stone said. "It's going to be an awesome year."

Hartford wasn't the only district to have to make cuts.

Neighboring West Hartford said it had to cut teaching positions because of the lack of funding.

Lawmakers are not expected to vote on a budget until mid-September.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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