NORFOLK — The following is a statement from Norfolk Public Schools Superintendent Ingrid Allardi:
“As we continue in the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis, there have been drastic and unprecedented financial strains placed upon local communities, including ours. This crisis has been costly and will likely result in serious financial ramifications, to which we are not immune. Norfolk Public Schools, like many other school districts throughout the state, is faced with difficult decisions and uncertainty.
“At this time, we do not know to what extent the state funding that makes up part of our budget – circuit breaker and Chapter 70 money – may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, due to state public health restrictions, the Norfolk Annual Town Meeting has been delayed. The district eagerly awaits the approval of our proposed budget at the local level at Town Meeting on June 24.
“In light of the current uncertainty surrounding the FY ’21 budget, the district has had to make difficult decisions in order to protect the financial well-being of our schools. We are required by state law to notify teachers if their position is being eliminated by June 15. After much consideration, we regret to announce that the district will be issuing reduction in force notices to 16 non-professional status educators in the Norfolk Public Schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Notifications were made earlier today.
“Please know that this decision was not made lightly and we remain hopeful that once the budget is finalized we will be able to invite educators back to the district. We hope to be able to restore staffing over the summer months as the budget picture becomes clearer. Additionally, despite these budget issues, we do not anticipate having to cut any programs at our schools, including art, music and physical education at this time.
“We want to extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to all of our teachers who have gone above and beyond to continue to provide a rich, meaningful learning experience for our students under very challenging conditions. The health and well-being of all of our students and staff members remains our top priority. We remain committed to continuing to provide an excellent education to all of the children in our community. We hope that all of our families continue to stay healthy and safe. We will provide further updates throughout the summer as additional information becomes available.”