Layoffs are looming for one local school district as it tries to set its budget for next year.
Wallingford is looking at eliminating 12 teaching positions. Wallingford school officials said the proposed cuts are based on tough fiscal times and a declining school enrollment.
"I don't think it’s a good thing because that means larger class sizes and higher student to teacher ratio,” mother Ashley Wolf said.
Wolf, who is the mother of a 4-year-old, said it’s never good when the word layoff get tossed around, but that's exactly the case in Wallingford, where the school district's proposed budget would cut 12 certified teaching positions next school year.
"The problem with that for me is it seems like the teachers are always the ones to get cut and I think they're grossly underpaid anyways, they do one of the most important jobs that we have in society,” Jason Dorsey, of Wallingford, said.
Later this month the board of education is expected to approve the nearly $103 million budget, and while there is a slight increase, the biggest expenses continue to be rising special education costs and employee benefit.
While Wallingford school officials said those two items are rising, enrollment is not.
"Over the last several years we have reduced teaching staff due to enrollment decreases However, in many of those instances, we have been able to accommodate the reduction in force by having the displaced staff members fill the positions vacated by retires in that year,” Wallingford's superintendent told Eyewitness News in a statement on Tuesday.
That's not the case this year. Ten teachers are retiring and it’s believed five of the teachers slated to be laid off will remain on staff after filling the positions of those retirees. That means right now seven teachers will be potentially left without a position for next year.
The cuts would take place at six of the town's elementary schools and are not impacting the middle schools or high schools.
"I still don't think laying them off is the best idea, but if it keeps everyone's taxes down,” Wolf said. “I guess they have to do what they have to do."
The full board of education is expected to vote on the budget and send it to the mayor for final approval, later this month.
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