HAMDEN — The teachers union is the most recent of four unions that have voted to take furlough days to help offset a budget deficit and avoid layoffs.
Superintendent of Schools Jody Ian Goeler has asked all public school employees to take two furlough days, which would reduce operating costs by $600,000. Without unions taking them, the district would require mid-year layoffs, according to a statement by the superintendent’s office.
If this number isn’t reached by accepting furlough days, any further budget reductions would come from layoffs, Goeler said in a special meeting for the Board of Education, according to meeting minutes. The reduction needed to be reached by the furlough days is almost half of the $1.3 million operating budget deficit.
All full-time union and non-union employees in the district were asked to give the furlough days.
“This year, Hamden faces a budget deficit due to unanticipated and significantly increased special education costs,” said a statement from the school district. Special education costs are “extremely difficult to fully anticipate” because the needs of new students entering the district may require costly services and out-of-district placements, the statement said. Furthermore, “the ‘Excess Cost’ funds provided to Hamden by the State of Connecticut are not sufficient to offset our unanticipated special education expenses.”