New London City Council forced to cut $4.2 million from school b - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New London City Council forced to cut $4.2 million from school budget

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School officials say cuts are coming because of the state budget crisis (WFSB) School officials say cuts are coming because of the state budget crisis (WFSB)
NEW LONDON, CT (WFSB) -

The budget crisis in the Capitol is spreading to school districts across the state.

The New London City Council made a tough decision on Monday night as they voted to cut $4.2 million from the school budget.

The superintendent of New London schools says his district cannot survive these cuts, that is without also laying off teachers and cutting services for students.

“We absolutely must not and cannot sacrifice the well-being of our students in the name of finance,” said Scott Garbini, president of New London Board of Education.

Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tracy says cuts of this magnitude will hurt the most in the classroom. 

“Damage substantial, because it’s possible that could happen,” Tracy said.

The city’s finance committee recommended the cuts as they expect to receive a huge reduction in state aid. 

On Monday, school officials urged council members to look elsewhere to balance the city’s budget.

“Divide those limited resources whatever they may be. Is shared as equally as it can be,” Tracy said.

“This is the most difficult budget thing I have ever had to deal with. I appreciate your concerns but they really need to be directed at the state speak to your state representatives,” said Councilor Don Venditto.

Leading up to the vote on Monday, parents and school staff urged the local councilors to think of the children.

“To take away resources from people who work in district that 100 percent of the kids receive free and reduced lunch it just seems unfathomable to me that’s where we’re going to make cuts,” said teacher Stacy Sherman-Watson.

Some even suggested the city of New London should bear a portion of the painful cuts.

Mayor Michael Passero says it is.

“That’s the worst part of my job right now is people on my staff that are going to lose their jobs. Real people. It’s very difficult to cut people’s jobs and I’ve had to cut five employees, senior employees and it’s very tough,” Passero said.

As hundreds of thousands of cuts are also being considered for the city, councilors only have until next week to pass a balanced budget. 

They’re hopeful the state will eventually come through with education funding.

“That $4.2 million of ECS they’ll definitely get back some of it back if not more. We can put money back into the education budget but if we didn’t take it out we wouldn’t be able to take it out,” said Councilor Martha Marx.

The city council and mayor says New London’s taxes will be going up 8 to 10 percent because of state cuts.

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