GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Education makes up the biggest part of the town budget which is why the schools could be taking the biggest hit when the cuts come down from the state.
“We got 25 last year. They say we’re going to get ten this year,” explained Superintendent Dr. Michael Graner as he points to a dry erase board in is office. The numbers are harsh reminder of how many millions Groton could lose in state aid.
“It’s either 9.2 or 13.2,” said Dr. Graner who has tough decisions to make.
The town has asked him to prepare a school budget which reflects a $3 to $4 million cut in state aid. That could mean an elementary school would have to close disrupting 300 children plus there would be layoffs of teachers and other staff.
“You can’t cut $3 million from a budget and expect there to be minimal impact,” said Dr. Graner. “This is going to be very disruptive, very painful.”
“The fact that they sit there and they put all the kids you know take them out of one school and put them into a different school that is a bit concerning,” said Groton parent Stacy Robinson.
Groton’s budget has to be in by the end of the month even though it won’t know exactly how much state aid it will or won’t get for months after that.
“There’s no easy fix and I have no idea what the solution is and that’s the hard part,” said Teresa LaJoie of Groton.
“Where’s the solution?” asked Groton resident John Diaz. “You know that’s where the politicians have to step up to Hartford and say come on guys work with us.”
For now the town which is holding out some hope prepares for a total loss of $5 million in state aid even though the state has threatened bigger cuts.
We asked Dr. Graner if this is one of the toughest years for him. “Oh it’s unprecedented,” he answered.
The public is invited to get a closer look at what the budget cuts could mean during at a special board of education meeting Monday at the Groton Town Hall Annex at 7:30 p.m.