New Haven Public Schools is cutting dozens of full-time employees, many of them school counselors, as the district continues to grapple with a budget deficit.
The district is facing a projected $19 million deficit for the coming school year.
New Haven Federation of Teachers President David Cicarella said 36 layoff notices went out Wednesday, but they still need to be approved by the Board of Education.
Cicarella said 17 of those jobs are school counselors, nine are classroom teachers, six are library/media specialists, and four are fitness instructors.
When the district originally began discussing cuts, there was talk of cutting 135 positions, according to Cicarella.
“Through attrition and reassigning staff, we were able to save 100 positions, so we got it down to 36 and look no for sure, even one is too many,” he said.
School officials said the layoffs were discussed with the teacher’s union and tried to maintain a 1:250 ratio of counselors to students, which is recommended by the American School Counselor Association. However, at the k-8 level, the ratio will be less.
Cicarella said while he understands that Birks is trying to avoid cuts at the classroom level, cutting guidance counselors will have a negative impact.
“This is gonna affect for the most part our K-8 buildings, imagine a 10-year-old who has a problem goes to see the guidance counselor, he’s not here today, come back tomorrow,” Cicarella said.
Last month, 1,100 part-time school employees received layoff notices. However, at least some of those were rescinded after officials reviewed the positions in question to determine which were the most necessary for the district to function.
Board of Education President Darnell Goldson told NBC Connecticut "We were comfortable with the process the Superintendent has used for this round of layoffs, including her continuing negotiations with union leadership, as well keeping the board updated on the process."
In a statement, Supt. Carol Birks explained the progress being made on the budget through the layoffs.
"To date our efforts of school closures, lease eliminations, program consolidations and staff reductions/attrition account for projected savings of $6,987,681. We will continue to engage in these proactive and collaborative budget mitigation strategies rooted state and national educational standards as well as best practices," Birks wrote.