Hartford Superintendent Warns School Principals of Looming Budget Cuts

Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez has warned school principals of a possible $4 million blow to the city’s education budget that could lead to staffing cuts well into the new school year.

A memo that the schools chief sent to administrators this week ordered an immediate hiring freeze on consultants and part-time and temporary employees, clamped down on overtime, and instructed the city’s 46 schools to ration their instructional and office supplies. She also reminded them of the ongoing moratorium on most cases of out-of-state travel.

And in a talk with principals Tuesday, Torres-Rodriguez outlined a “mitigation” plan that starts with leaving nonessential vacancies unfilled and ends with possible program cuts and staff layoffs.

The superintendent framed her sobering speech in the context of overcoming “ambiguity and adversity” — including looming school closures, the anticipated influx of students fleeing hurricane-wrecked Puerto Rico, the turbulence in national politics and race relations, the city teetering toward municipal bankruptcy, and the state budget impasse that has left Connecticut towns and cities grasping for any word on education aid.