New London — The district’s 68 nontenured teachers who received layoff notices in April have been reinstated and will be asked to return in the fall, the district’s interim assistant superintendent said Thursday.
“We’re very happy. This is a good day for New London Public Schools,” interim Assistant Superintendent Katherine Ericson said. “The goal was to save as many staff positions as possible. Our priority is student achievement, so we’re constantly asking ourselves, ‘What are the positions that will support student achievement?’ That’s how you decide what goes and what stays.”
The teachers, who have been waiting since April for the school’s budget problems to be hashed out, were rehired because others in the school system retired, resigned or found jobs elsewhere.
Rich Baez, president of the New London Education Association, said the delay in issuing the recall notices still means that the district might be losing more teachers.
“Teachers who have accepted jobs in other districts do not have to let the schools know they won’t be returning until they’ve actually received their recall notice. Some of them may have already committed to another job,” Baez said. “As a union, we’re pleased everyone got a recall notice, but we still lost quality teachers and will probably be losing more.”
Baez said the district will not know the final number of teachers it has lost until the recall notices are answered.
School board members were hoping that the $809,001 in Alliance District funds awarded to the school district would help replace some of the money the district did not receive from the city during the budget process. But the alliance money, for low-performing school districts, comes with many restrictions and cannot be used for staffing.
Ericson and members of the NLEA met Wednesday to discuss the best ways to maintain staffing levels in the district, Ericson said.
“They’ve (the union) been very supportive because they knew that cutting teachers isn’t what we wanted. They’re really helping to make a difficult time manageable,” Ericson said.