Educators, administrators, parents and students have called on Connecticut legislators to finalize a budget. They met to highlight their concerns after the education commissioner’s annual back-to-school meeting in Meriden Tuesday.
An education group called the What Will Our Children Lose Coalition gathered outside Meriden’s Maloney High School following Commissioner Dianna Wentzell’s annual address and urged lawmakers to get to work.
Beth Horler, Groton Education Association President and a kindergarten teacher, said Groton’s Board of Education already made some difficult choices and cut their budget by $3 million in anticipation of cuts to the state’s education cost sharing funding.
“We have 22 fewer teachers in our district than last year,” said Horler. “Our class sizes are higher. We have less administrators.”
Without a state budget, school districts don’t know how much money will be available for teacher positions, supplies, and programs.
That concerns Sophia Falusi, an 8th grader from Tolland.
“I feel like I’m going to be not smart when I grow up,” she said. “And I’m going to feel like using my limited amount of knowledge, because all my teachers have been cut, I’m going to have a job that I don’t like and I’m just not going to succeed.”
According to a survey of only 30 of the state’s school districts, more than 400 positions are either on hold or cut entirely due to the lack of a budget.
More than 500,000 students are scheduled to start classes in a couple of weeks.