Layoff notices went out Wednesday to 37 New Haven school staff members in the face of a budget deficit.
Most of the pink slips went to guidance counselors. Also laid off were several classroom teachers, library media specialists, and physical education teachers.
The district is facing a roughly $20 million budget deficit. New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said they need to prepare for the opening of school and she believes, while they’re still trying to determine the actual deficit, it’s the right decision.
“Part of what we did to address it was to close three schools,” Harp said. “And now we’re having to lay off staff and my hope is that by the time school starts and the dust settles that we’ll be able to bring people back.”
Teachers union president Dave Cicarella called the layoffs hurtful. However, he said they were able to save about 100 positions through attrition. But, Cicarella said, with a $6 million deficit last year and a projected $20 million for this coming year, he admits the district is in a bind.
“We’ve never faced a budget like this,” he said. “There’s been one budget crisis after another. When you are coming in with $26 million there’s nowhere to go. You can’t get that money by cutting textbooks, supplies, copy paper. I mean, that has to be personnel and that’s how we landed in a layoff situation.”
There are more cuts expected. Harp said in the future, they will be laying off people in some of the district’s support and clerical positions.
The board of education is expected to take up a vote to approve the layoffs in the next two weeks.