The and New Haven Teachers Association have finalized negotiations to rehire staff in order to minimize class-size increases.
Superintendent Kari McVeigh announced Thursday that the district would rehire 24 teachers previously laid-off in March.
“This sounds like good news, but it’s only because of how bad the news has been for the past several months and because of how deep we had to cut as we planned for 2011-12,” McVeigh said in a press release.
, the district was forced to make $6 million in reductions for the upcoming school year. Those cuts came on top of nearly $10 million in reductions already made over the past three years
As a result of the cuts, district officials authorized raising the student-to-teacher ratio in k-3 classrooms to 30-to-1, laying off nearly 70 teachers, according to district spokesman Rick La Plante.
Of those 70 teachers laid-off, 29 have already been rehired to fill vacant positions due to retirements and resignations, La Plante said.
“We still have lost about 15 teachers, our kindergarten and third-grade classes are still larger than they were last year, and we still must implement furlough days,” McVeigh said.
The rehired teachers will allow the district to staff kindergarten classrooms at a ratio of 25 students per teacher, up from 20-to-1 in previous years. First and second grades will remain at 25-to-1, while third grade classes, which were staffed at a 25-to-1 ratio, will increase to 30-to-1.
Officials last month also authorized five furlough days, shorting the school year from 180 days to 175 days. Now, through an agreement with the teachers association and the New Haven Adminisrators Association, all employees will take an additional furlough day off.
However, the district may be forced to add more furlough days mid-year, La Plante said.
The state budget adopted last month includes a complex education bill that calls for mid-year cuts to k-12 education if the state does not generate at least $2 billion of additional revenue this year. In the case revenues are short, the district will add more furlough days, McVeigh said.
For now, the district will continue with the budget plan approved by the board of education in early June, which restored some of the preliminary cuts made in March.
The district was able to for school libraries and reinstate stipends for some coaches and advisers for co-curricular activities such as athletics, band, forensics, choir and drama.
The district will also have a part-time assistant principal at each of the seven elementary schools, but the middle schools will have 1.5 assistant principals each, instead of two, and James Logan and Conley-Caraballo high schools will be short one administrator each.
“Given the state’s financial situation and , I think we’ve done the best we can do under the circumstances,” McVeigh said in a statement. “But the fact remains that even in a district that has been fiscally responsible – where we’ve closed under-enrolled schools, eliminated transportation, cut back on other services, and reduced our teaching force by 10 percent and our administrative staff by 20 percent – we simply no longer are receiving the revenues necessary to do what we need to do for our children.”