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253 positions cut from Hartford Public Schools as budget is cut by more than $20M

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HARTFORD--After a three-week delay, the Hartford school board has approved a budget for the next school year.

The $419.1 million budget is $22.4 million less than last year. As of June 6, 253 positions are being cut, including teachers and non-teacher staff members. The superintendent’s office says all but 28 teachers have found landing spots both in and out of the school system.

School Board member Craig Stallings said, "This is hurtful. I have to say it again. This is really going to impact the community in a very negative way."

Board member Robert Cotto Jr. added,"We could've asked people to take furlough days."

Both Stallings and Cotto are the only two board members who voted against the budget; six voted in favor. On the nine-member board, there are four elected members and five are appointed. Stallings and Cotto are both elected.

Cotto said, "I do think we had a moment earlier in January where we could've exerted our collective will to really push for what we wanted."

The budget for magnet schools will decrease by over $530,000. About 9,000 Hartford children attend Hartford Public Magnet Schools out of the total 26,000 students the city is responsible for.

Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez said the reality is they had a $30 million budget gap to close and recently learned they had over $3 million more in cuts from the city and state.

Schiavino-Narvaez said, "There are things we were committed to and I'm glad we were able to preserve. We were able to maintain small class sizes which is important, access to arts and physical education and a social worker in every school. A third of my senior team has been cut in my cabinet, myself included, is not accepting raises for the coming year."

Eighty-three percent of the budget is invested directly in the schools.