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Longwood schools may let 48 teachers go

Dr. Allan Gerstenlauer, supterintendent of the Longwood School

Dr. Allan Gerstenlauer, supterintendent of the Longwood School District, at the 5th Annual SCSSA Advocacy Training Workshop at the Eastern Suffolk BOCES in Holbrook. (Jan. 22, 2011) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Longwood school officials have told 48 teachers and six administrators they could be let go at the end of the school year because of a massive budget shortfall.

The district stands to lose $8 million in state aid at the same time as it grapples with a $13 million increase in health care costs and retirement contributions, among other expenses.

Superintendent Allan Gerstenlauer said Monday he expects cuts to clubs, athletics, music and electives along with increased class sizes and a reduction in mental health staff.

"I am so angry," said Gerstenlauer, who has spent more than 30 years at Longwood. "The school district will look different going forward."

Gerstenlauer said he wanted to notify staff as early as possible; each was hand-delivered a letter Friday.

"I felt an obligation to let people know where they stood," he said.

Officials say the number of teacher layoffs could be reduced through retirement (11 teachers have given notice so far), or if state budget negotiations result in additional school funding.

The district is seeking a salary freeze for all bargaining units. If the request is not met, additional cuts could be made, officials said.

Longwood has 795 teachers and 40 administrators serving some 9,200 students.

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