District 46 Board Looks at Cutting Staff, Making Other Reductions to Cut Deficit
Superintendent Ellen Correll presented a list of $1.79 million in cuts to the board Wednesday night.
That's the number of staff members that could be cut should the Grayslake District 46 Board decide to do so.
Superintendent Ellen Correll presented the board with a long list of potential cuts Wednesday night as the district aims to plug its budget deficit. The board previously discussed a list of other budget cuts in November 2012.
"We are not getting rid of fluff in the district or recommending that," Correll told the board. "These recommendations are painful for all of us."
"$2.2 million is a very daunting figure to any of us," she said of the deficit.
Correll said the district's leadership team met four times to discuss how to address the deficit. The discussions were difficult, she said.
"You very quickly see the passion that all of these administrators have for not just only their buildings but district-wide," said Correll.
Ultimately, the leadership team came up with a list that totals about $1.79 million in cuts. Here are some of the items on that list:
- Staff reductions. Correll said the team looked at tightening class sizes based on the previously-approved parameters, including 25 students per class in kindergarten through second grade, and 30 per class for grades three through eight. With that, Correll said, the team projects cutting 14.5 staff members across the district. She said the team will have to look at teacher evaluation ratings and seniority. "Seniority is not building-specific," she noted, meaning the cuts would take place across the district.
- Correll said the team looked at tightening the special education caseloads in several different areas. Some reductions could be made in this area, she said.
- Assistants. Correll said the team suggested reducing the number of assistants by six.
- Physical Education. Correll said that while the team understands the importance of physical education in schools, the team recommended that the board consider allowing the K-4 buildings to reduce the amount of physical education time from 40 minutes to 30 minutes, which would allow some staffing reductions.
- Spanish. Correll said two years ago, Spanish classes were reduced as a money-saving measure and the district ended up going to a lottery system to determine which students could take the class. Though taking Spanish class before high school "does sort of give them an edge … they still need to take the two full years of Spanish at the high school" because the middle school Spanish class doesn't provide credit in high school.
"Every one of these that we talked about, they were very difficult for us to talk about because we can see the advantages, but we also know that the district is facing a significant deficit," said Correll.
Correll said many other areas were looked at, including: a 10 percent reduction in building supplies at the schools, a $50,000 budget reduction in the technology department, increased registration fees, a $19,000 reduction in the board budget and the elimination of the pre-K coordinator role. Regarding the latter, Correll said the team recommended offering a stipend to two current employees to handle the pre-K coordinator role on a part-time basis.
"There are other areas, obviously, that we can look at," Correll said, adding that this was the team's original look at potential cuts.
Board Vice President Keith Surroz asked his fellow board members to keep in mind the ultimate goal—having a balanced budget—while studying the list.
"We don't have a choice," he said.
Correll added that an issue that came up in the leadership team meetings was whether the board could transfer money from the operations and maintenance fund to the education fund.
Board President Ray Millington said that would just be a band-aid solution because it would be "a one-time deal."
"I think it's certainly something that we should consider," said Board Secretary Sue Facklam. She asked for more documentation on the statute regarding fund balance transfers.