GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The dry erase board in Dr. Michael Graner’s office tells the story of a town hit hard by expected state budget cuts.
He had to cut nearly $2.9 million from the school department budget in anticipation of the state funding cuts. That meant closing the Pleasant Valley School to save $1.9 million.
“We lost 24 full-time teaching positions,” said Dr. Graner.
But because 31 people retired all but one of those teachers went to other Groton schools as did the the 300 students from Pleasant Valley.
“I think everyone right now is waiting nervously for the state budget but the town budget has actually been approved,” said Dr. Graner. “Has been voted upon.”
So the superintendent says they are moving forward to fill vacancies.
“The needs are very clear,” said Dr. Graner. “If you have one French teacher at the middle school then you have to replace the French teacher. We’re going ahead with the hiring.”
Many other towns are now doing the same. We asked Dr. Graner is they would normally start the next school year’s hiring in July. “No,” he said. “It would have come much earlier because typically budgets are approved in April.”
The superintendent is in constant contact with local state legislators hoping for the best and like other school districts which have had to lay off staff he’s also hoping the worst is over.
“When we have an ad.. when we’re posting a job we’re seeing lots of applicants,”said Dr. Graner.
Teachers hired now can be assured they will have their jobs throughout this coming school year. Towns are hoping they won’t have to make any other adjustments unless of course it’s restoring programs because they get more state funding than expected.