New Haven BOE President scolds new Superintendent on layoff letter

NEW HAVEN --The New Haven Public Schools are in a fiscal mess - facing a nearly $20 million budget deficit for next school year. And, this morning, the President of the Board of Education publicly scolded the new Superintendent of Schools for her approach to addressing the problem.

The BOE President, Darnell Goldson, said in a Monday morning press conference, at City Hall, that Superintendent Dr. Carol Birks never got BOE approval before sending out notices to over 1,100 part time and grant funded employees saying that their part-time jobs would end June 29.

Goldson says the BOE and the public were shocked by the number of people receiving end of employment notices. But, they decided to wait a few days to hear an explanation from the Superintendent, "which we did at our board meeting last Monday," said Goldson. "We requested at that board meeting additional information and I’ve since learned that the total number has been reduced to 764."

That's because nearly 400 part-timers, receiving the letter, were not even on the payroll this past school year.

"We have also learned that an overwhelming majority of the 764 employees have direct and consequential contact with our students," said Goldson, adding that it's going to be difficult to determine who to ultimately cut.

"Sometimes there’s two or three teachers in the classroom at one time. and now there’s probably only going to be one, unable to handle the children," said Linda Toro, a New Haven parent. "So, I don’t know what they are going to do. It’s just ridiculous."

"They don’t have that individually you know, the teachers to be able to individualize with each student," said Marixxa Berrios, another New Haven parent.

Goldson says Birks, who did not respond to Fox 61's request for comment, was ordered to immediately rescind the layoff letters, adding that each part-timer will be considered for continued employment.

"These are dedicated employees, who are the least paid and deserve a level of support and respect that matches their commitment to our students," remarked Goldson., who says the BOE should have a better idea, as to how many positions will ultimately be eliminated, in time for next Monday's BOE meeting, which takes place at the Celentano School beginning at 5:30.