STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Usually when elementary school students leave for the summer break, they know who their teachers will be in the fall. This year for many, it’s an unknown.
“We did get a letter with their report cards on the last day of school saying until budget situations were squared away that we wouldn’t know anything,” said Heather Pescatello who is a parent and school teacher in town. Two of her kids are heading into the second and fourth grades.
“I’m confident in whatever happens. I think they’ll be fine. We have wonderful teachers here,” says Pescatello.
For some elementary school teachers who received pink slips, they still have yet to learn if they will be rehired. The town is waiting to finalize staffing levels until it finds out what happens with the state budget and funding.
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“It’s concerning,” said Megan Graham. “So I mean I don’t know, it does affect a lot of things.”
Graham is a parent and works as a reading support teacher for third and fourth graders in Stonington. She says there are factors beyond the state budget which can affect staffing like if a teacher decides last minute to go elsewhere.
“I guess there’s pros and cons to both sides — knowing and not knowing,” says Graham.
Older kids don’t find out who their teacher will be until August. Parent Molly Evak says it helps younger kids to know sooner.
“What to expect, what to see, what to visualize kind of cause I mean, just walking into something blind we don’t like it as adults so why would kids like it,” said Evak. “It just kind of amps up their nervousness for the first day.”
If teachers are cut, classes could be larger.
“I think that is a consequence of that happening, but again I think we’ve had larger classes before,” said Pescatello. “I’ve had larger classes, smaller classes and we are a group of hardworking teachers and we want the best for all the kids and I think we’ll be fine.”
The teachers who were not rehired are now looking for other jobs so even if the money comes through, there’s a chance they may not be available.