STRATFORD, Conn. — Parents have launched an online petition drive in an attempt to stop the Stratford Board of Education’s plan to lay off more than 40 teachers in the middle of the school year.
Superintendent Janet Robinson announced the layoffs on Tuesday after the town's teacher union rejected a proposal for all school employees to take two unpaid furlough days.
The petition, which was created on Change.org by Patricia Clark Sperling and others, is a "vote of no confidence" in Robinson and Chief Operating Officer Clarence Zachery.
The petition calls for a halt to the layoffs planned for January. It also requests a forensic audit because "taxpayers in Stratford have a right to know how and where their money is spent," the petition says.
Specifically, the petition raises concerns about Robinson’s leadership, "specifically regarding trust, collaboration, decision-making, transparency, vision, her lack of respect for the parents and teachers. We have also had serious concerns about the budget and financial aspect of our school district and the lack of transparency given to Stratford’s taxpayers, which includes past and present parents of Stratford’s school children."
It also says Robinson, Zachery and the Board of the Board of Education have not responsibly and transparently managed finances. The petition also called the request for two furlough days "unreasonable."
The decision to lay off over 40 teachers "will have a huge and lasting impact in class size and educational effectiveness within our already struggling schools and a serious detrimental effect to our children at this point in the school year," the petition said.
The petition will be delivered to Robinson, members of the Stratford Board of Education and Mayor Laura Hoydick.
As of Friday, the petition had 1,170 signatures of the 1,500 that are sought.
The layoffs would take effect Jan. 18, Robinson said.
The school district is looking to cut $700,000 from the current budget in parts because Stratford lost $2.89 million in state Education Cost Sharing grants for this school year.
Click here for more information on the petition at Change.org.
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