NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WFSB) — New Haven school officials have sent letters to 1,100 public school employees regarding layoffs.
According to school officials, part-time positions are being eliminated and re-examined ahead of the next school year.
New Haven Board of Education Chief Operating Officer William Clark said any full-time eliminations part of this are linked to expiring grants, and were positions that were known to be linked to that type of funding.
“Teacher and other full-time staff continue to realign to need and adjust staffing levels while also taking advantage of retirements and natural attrition,” Clark said.
Superintendent Dr. Carol Birks says the district’s woeful budget situation forced her hand.
“We’ve told the board, as well as the community that we have estimated costs, every finance meeting, every community forum, every board meeting, we’ve shared that we have to make some reductions,” said Birks.
Birks said normally all part-time employees are warned in the fall that their job may be terminated after the school year ends, but that didn’t happen in New Haven, so many workers were caught flat-footed.
Birks admits the district should have made this possibility clear from the beginning.
“If one person didn’t hear it then we missed communicating to somebody, so we can sharpen up our communication streams throughout the district,” Birks said.
The employees who lost their jobs include tutors, lunch aides, bus monitors, and part-time teachers.
The New Haven mayor’s office said these staff reductions are being considered in an effort to reduce costs “in the face of a shrinking public sector budget.”
Those who are receiving letters may be rehired after job descriptions are adjusted, and after the summer is over, the mayor’s office said, but that is not guaranteed.
An additional $5 million reduction to the New Haven Public Schools budget from the Mayor’s Proposed Budget, which was submitted March 1.
The New Haven Board of Alders-adopted budget for the school district in 2019 does not include the $5 million increase.
School board president, Darnell Goldson, was initially frustrated by the scope of the layoffs, but he is happy the move will save the district $12 million it desperately needs due to a $20 million budget shortfall.
The notices went out on Friday and the layoffs are effective June 29.
In the past, school board members have feared the impact layoffs like these would have on the families of the workers, along with the school system itself.