Board of ed lacks funds to replace retirees

More than 20 staff members and teachers will be retiring or relocating from the Shelton school district at the end of the 2016-17 school year, but Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet said it most likely will not be able to hire enough replacements to fill the dozen or so teaching positions.

“We’ll probably, due to the budget constraints, not replace all 12. Some will be replaced, but there will definitely be a reduction in force of at least eight teachers as part of our budget proposal. Obviously, we are hoping we can accomplish this through attrition and not layoffs.”

At a recent Board of Ed meeting, Chair Mark Holden announced that Mohegan Elementary School’s principal, Ellen Tuckner will be relocating to a school in Ridgefield at the end of the 2016-17 school year.

Clouet said the current Long Hill School principal, Kristin Santilli will begin her duties as the new principal of Mohegan School on July 1. Her background as former supervisor of literacy was key to her assignment, according to Clouet.

“Mrs. Santilli brings important skills to her new assignment,” said Clouet. “We wish Mrs. Tuckner all the best. Her service to Shelton has been well received.”

"I am extremely grateful and fortunate to have been an the leader at Long Hill School for the past three years. I am looking forward to embarking on this next phase of my career as principal of Mohegan School and collaborate with the teachers, students and families," said Santilli.

The city hasn’t advertised yet for the position of principal of Long Hill School, but Clouet said its plan is do so in coming weeks, in time for school next September.

Tuckner was unavailable for comment as of Tuesday afternoon.

The city’s board of ed requested $1.98 million in additional funds for the upcoming school year, but the city recently only granted them $1 million in additional funding.

Dr. Clouet said he’s confident in the city’s education ability to operate under this proposed city budget, but he’s unsure of how the state finalizing its budget could change that.

“We’re waiting to see what the final numbers are from Hartford because that will give us a sense of how bad things might get. They’re difficult as things stand right now, and I want to emphasize that the city and its board of ed have been working together to deal with this statewide fiscal crisis, so I’m pleased with our communication with each other, but nonetheless there’s going to be a reduction in force,” said Clouet. “It’s going to be with a reduction in force as a premise but we think we can deliver most of our services, but we’re continuing to look for savings in other areas such as transportation, healthcare insurance, or energy costs.”

There are no definite programs to be cut at this time, according to Dr. Clouet.