WESTBROOK — Nineteen school department employees, including six teachers, were notified late last week that they likely will lose their jobs.

On Wednesday, the School Committee will vote on whether to lay off those specific people, said interim Superintendent Marc Gousse.

The committee has already approved a $30.9 million budget for 2011-12, which includes the elimination of the equivalent of 42 full-time positions. Retirements of teachers at the high end of the pay scale allowed many employees whose positions were cut to keep jobs in the district, Gousse said.

The City Council on Monday gave its final approval to the school budget and the $24.3 million municipal budget for the year that starts July 1.

Combined, the budgets would raise taxes by 4.2 percent, adding $132 to the property tax bill of the average Westbrook home- owner, whose property is worth $190,000.

Mayor Colleen Hilton said few people have spoken up about the municipal budget. Still, she and members of the council said Monday that they don’t take the tax increase lightly.

The school budget has been more controversial. Residents will vote June 7 on that budget, which accounts for $84 of the increase to the average homeowner’s property tax bill.

The near-final tally of school department layoffs comes after two months of debate among elected officials, school employees, parents and students.

Because of retirements, eight classroom teachers whose jobs were eliminated were offered different positions, Gousse said.

He said the district also was able to retain its Title 1 program, for students who need extra help, through retirements and the elimination of the program director’s position.

In early March, school officials received a $33.7 million budget proposal from outgoing Superintendent Reza Namin. That would have raised the property tax bill for the average homeowner by more than $350. Officials said at the time that as many as 80 positions could be cut to balance the budget.

Gousse, who was principal of Westbrook High School, took over as superintendent on March 10, after Namin resigned to take a job in central Massachusetts.

After two public hearings, the School Committee’s Finance Committee voted to continue funding nurses, guidance counselors and technology staff positions that initially were targeted for elimination.

Also, Gousse discovered that the school department was eligible for nearly $600,000 in federal stimulus money, which enabled the district to save 17 positions.

Joan Harmon, president of the Westbrook Education Association, said Monday that the administration and the union worked well together to minimize the budget’s impact on jobs.

“It could have been a lot worse than it was,” Harmon said.

 

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: [email protected]