8th grader; “I want to know what’s going to happen before school starts.”

What Will Our Children Lose Coalition news conference in Meriden (WTNH / Mark Davis)

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A call to action Tuesday from Connecticut school superintendents, teachers, unions, parents, and kids.

As the countdown to the opening day of school has begun, many cities and towns have no idea if they’ll have the cash to meet their payrolls.  As the state budget stalemate drags on at the Capitol the uncertainty has turned into a crisis for the state’s public school systems.

“We may have to collapse classes, cut teachers, move students around during the middle of the year,”  said Dr. Mark Benigni, the Superintendent of the Meriden Public School system.

Benigni was joined by other superinendents teachers, parents and some school kids Tuesday, urging the legislature and the Governor to get something done before school starts later this month.

“I want to know what’s going to happen before school starts so I don’t get moved around and once I get moved around it’s all going to get  confusing and honestly the stress will be too much,” said 13-year-old Sophia Falusi, who’se going into the 8th grade in Tolland.

As News 8 was first to report yesterday; the indecision at the State Capitol has already caused many school districts to cut teachers and put hundreds of school jobs on-hold, because superintendents just don’t know if they’ll have the funds to pay them.

“We have five teachers been cut all from the high school. If these cuts go through with the state aid that will go into a dozen at least,” said Bristol teacher David Hayes.

Middletown teacher Stephen McKeever adding,  “We’re not talking just a body, we’re not making a budget cut where we can’t buy crayons, we’re talking about people’s lives.”

And Chief Steward Marianne Maloney, who teaches in New Haven and is head of the New Haven Federation of Teachers union said,  “We and the city are bargaining in good faith but we don’t know what we’re bargaining with and so the entire operation is really on hold until we know what the money’s going to look like.”

For kids like Sophia it’s just all scary,  “I’m going to lose Spanish class, my advanced math class, my keyboarding or piano class and I really like those classes.”

Michele Harrold is the parent of three school kids in Tolland and says,  “We really just need them to pass a budget. This has been going on for so long, nobody’s gotten into a room together. Everybody’s blaming each other. They need to pass a budget, it’s imperative.”

No one is getting into a room together at the Capitol until next Tuesday. In many towns, teachers are scheduled back to work at the end of next week.

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