Stratford may cut 59 teachers for next school year

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Fifty-nine Stratford teachers received official notice Monday evening that they may not see their contracts with the district renewed.

Mike Fiorello is a teacher at Stratford High School and president of the Stratford Education Association. 

"When we faced midyear layoffs, there was a reason: The state had cut some of our education cost sharing," he says. "There was a cause and effect there. We don't really know why this year is different." 

He says the district's human resources told him last Thursday that all of the teachers without tenure would not be asked to return next year. That's more than 120 people.

But yesterday, he says, only about half of them received the notices.

Still, Fiorello says the move is surprising, because teachers and administrators agreed to two unpaid furlough days to both prevent midyear layoffs and help Stratford close its $700,000 deficit.

He says the notices affect every school and teachers of both core subjects and electives. Typically, a handful of untenured teachers find out they're not being asked back, he says, but this number is unprecedented.

And he says such decisions usually come after the Board of Education has a budget, which it doesn't yet. 

"We don't understand," he says. "We don't have that answer yet."

Superintendent Janet Robinson says the budget will likely total about $4 million less than the current situation. She says the district hopes to retain the notified teachers and save money elsewhere.

"It was really our hope that the cuts won't be necessary," she says.

Other solutions include realigning the schools and saving money on busing. In case that plan fails, Robinson says teachers received their notifications to give them time to prepare.

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