Glastonbury schools affected by state budget crisis

GLASTONBURY --  The Glastonbury school district is preparing to do more with less, as the school year begins Wednesday.

The district is dealing with a significant proposed funding cut from the state, down from about $6.6 million last year to no funding this year.

"We're going to limp along as best we can during the course of this year," said Superintendent Dr. Alan Bookman.

Bookman said the proposed state cuts are translating to fewer technology upgrades, not hiring for several open positions, cutting professional and curriculum development, and potentially rationing paper as the school year goes on.

"We don't have enough supplies to last through the year," said Bookman.

Bookman said he has filled vacancies for four high school teacher positions, as well as a Director of Technology. If the money is not reinstated, he said he expects budget and hiring freezes. Because the high school now has fewer teachers with the same number of students, Bookman said class sizes are increasing, hitting the high 20s.

"Towns can't suffer the complete elimination of all of our educational cost-sharing money that has been given to the towns for decades," said Bookman.

Parents seem generally disappointed but hopeful the district will be able to make do.

"The district always finds a way to handle it," said a parent Rose Holohan-Sohn. "It's just disappointing that things may have to experience a lot of cuts."

"As a taxpayer, I know how much I'm paying in taxes, and I guess I would expect some help from the state," said mom Julie Horton.

Glastonbury mom Nicole Miclette saw things differently, questioning if funding should go to needier districts. "Do we need it [the funds]?" asked Miclette. "Are there people who need it more?"

Bookman said the district will make do. "We're going to do the best we can with what we have," said Bookman.

State legislators will meet again Wednesday afternoon for another budget negotiation session.