Hartford Schools Present Budget With Some Layoffs
Hartford School Superintendent Steven Adamowski has proposed a nearly $396 million dollar budget for next year. The budget calls for layoffs of about 58 staff members and paraprofessionals, but no teachers. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the budget also relies on a one-time infusion of $11 million dollars that won't be here next year. Adamowski said this year's budget is hard, but it's not the hardest. "This 11/12 budget however is actually the least difficult of the three that we have experienced during the recession due to the infusion of $11 million in federal revenue through the teacher jobs legislation of 2010." Adamowski praised the board for saving that money last year when it could have spent it. He said he's hoping for more state money next year. Jim Starr works for the education advocacy group Achieve Hartford! He says balancing the budget on a one-time infusion of money might make sense this year... "But that won't be there next year, so they're going to be short next year that $11 million hole plus the difference between any contractual increases that they're going to be obligated to pay as they move into the 2012/2013 school year. Certainly it's going to be an issue and there's going to be some additional pressures they're going to put on to close the budget, absent any other additional revenue streams." Adamowski's proposed budget counts on flat funding from the state and the city. It is a reduction of just over one percent from the current budget. Also, it means laying off about 58 people. Again, Adamowski. "Reductions at our 45 schools have been limited to 39 positions, that's less than a position per school. That contrasts to the last two years where we have upwards of 100, 150, 200 positions less." There is a public hearing on the budget next week. It is presented to the city council in May. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.