Connecticut’s budget deficit has left several towns with a hole in their budgets.
Ledyard teachers and other unions are stepping up to the plate to help ease the town’s budget woes.
The bottom line, no matter what the school district and town do, to help erase their budget shortfall, taxpayers will be getting a supplemental bill early next year.
Unionized teachers in Ledyard voted 3-1 to accept a two-day furlough, which will help the district erase a $1.5 million cut in state aid.
“It’s a bit of a hardship, I mean we did just get hit with the added contribution to our pension by the governor, which they’re going to take that money for the general fund. It’s not an insignificant amount of money especially or the newer teachers, it’s a real hardship,” said Ted Allen, vice president of the teacher’s union.
School Superintendent Jason Hartling said without the furlough, they would have to consider teacher layoffs.
The union vote only eases the strain on this year’s budget shortage, with the focus on maintaining academic programming.
“We don’t want to cut programming that impacts children. So that comes on a myriad of ways the classroom experience. The student social-emotional welfare. There are all sorts of pieces that are part of a whole list of education that Ledyard has been known for,” Hartling said.
To date, there is a $1.5 million shortfall.
That two-day teachers furlough will save $170,000, the remainder will be saved with a hiring freeze, maintenance delay and other decisions by the district and the town.
“We’re working on a number of different solutions. It involves additional cuts. We’ve already made substantial cuts this year but we’re making additional cuts and a combination likely of a supplemental tax bill,” said Mayor Fred Allyn III.
On Thursday, the finance committee for the town and the school district will meet to figure out how to make up for the remainder of the state cut.
In January or February, they’ll send out a supplemental tax bill to property owners.
“It’s good for the kids but it’s not good for the people who struggle to pay the bills that they have to pay,” said taxpayer Mike Burian.
Mayor Allen says on average, property owner’s supplemental tax bill could be $120 to $350 or more, depending on their home.
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