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D46 Board Continues to Talk Budget Cuts

With a budget deficit of $1.2 million, the D46 School Board continues to review ways to reduce spending and increase revenue in a variety of ways from reducing staff mileage reimbursement to the superintendent paying more of her own health insurance.

Grayslake District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll brought out the easel Wednesday to review with the school board various ways to plug the district's $1.2 million budget deficit, which includes her offer to return $11,000 of the $17,000 the district pays for her health insurance.

On a related note, a vote to extend Correll's $170,844 annual contract through June 2014 failed for a second time. The vote ended in a 3-3 tie (as it did on Oct. 17). Board member Sue Facklam was again absent. To pass, the measure will need a majority vote in favor. Any board member can bring the motion back for yet another vote.

Budget cuts

The majority of Wednesday's meeting involved discussion of potential budget savings, no matter how small they may seem, such as covering classroom shelves with white instead of colored paper and stopping newspaper subscriptions.

"We're looking at every penny we can find to reduce the deficit," said Correll.

Some of the areas that have been under review include:

  • Reducing summer projects: Already in budget to reduce by $750,000.
  • Closing a school: Still under review, could take up to two years.
  • Reducing substitute pay: Still under review, but projected savings is $12,000.
  • Reducing bus routes: Convert hazardous walking routes by installing sidewalks on Route 83 near Frederick School by way of a grant the village is working to secure.
  • Investigating year-round school: The district determined this would actually increase costs.
  • Blending grade schools to have grade-level centers: Correll will meet with superintendents from schools already doing this to determine cost savings.
  • Eliminating textbooks: Concept is still three to five years out. There is a future cost savings, but alternatives to books, such as iPads, would need to be secured.
  • Increasing registration fees: Board consensus appears to be against doing this.
  • Bringing kitchen facilities back to cook food on-site: Costs would actually increase given necessary equipment purchases.
  • Increasing building/facilities rental fees: Proposal is to increase rental fees by $1 to generate $17,000 in revenue. Further review is planned.
  • Reducing staff mileage reimbursement: Potential savings is $12,000 a year. However, board member Shannon Smigielski suggested staff seek reimbursement through declaration on their income tax return.
  • Reducing staff cell phone reimbursement: Reimbursement has already been reduced from $30 to $15.
  • Eliminating staff credit or "P" cards: Still under review because the district does receive a small amount of revenue associated with card benefits.
  • Reducing health insurance costs: The board is currently comparing the costs of several plans.
  • Reducing legal fees: Board consensus is yes. Smigielski suggested the board seek new counsel as soon as teacher contract negotiations are settled. So far, said Correll, the district has paid $45,000 in legal fees related to negotiations.
  • Eliminating reimbursement for travel to out-of-town conferences and dinners: Board consensus is to refuse out-of-state travel on the district's dime and to find alternate ways to pay for certain professional development events, such as with grant funds.
  • Hiring a grant writer: Still under review, but Correll said a salary of $40,000 could return 10 times that in secured grants.

The board is also planning to negotiate a new printer lease to save money and has already cut the business office budget by $3,000 and annual bank fees by $3,000.

Staff cuts?

Following the presentation, Smigielski asked Correll when they would speak publicly about the elephant in the room--potential staff cuts.

Correl said she would have a "good idea" about what's going to be necessary by the end of January.

"There definitely will be staff reductions," she said.

Next meeting

The board has canceled its Nov. 21 meeting due to the Thanksgiving break. The board meets next on Dec. 5. The tentative agenda includes presentation of the 2012 tax levy.

Grayslake D46 Approves Deficit Budget

Grayslake D46 Board Looks To Plug $1.25 Million Budget Deficit

Vote to Extend D46 Superintendent Contract Fails

HAL E BERGER February 21, 2013 at 03:52 PM
This angers and frustrates me so much I could spit nickels!!! It was obvious, predictable and those people who think spending can go on forever at the taxpayer expense are about to face the reality of the times. The list included hasn't even reached or addressed the staff cuts. Some of these people at risk are my friends and they and their families are now directly in the line of fire to now be very hurt. Folks this is exactly what I was trying to point out when the teachers’ contract was set into motion. Those additional costs in a district that already has a deficit means cuts, that’s real cuts to real people. There is no other way to balance a budget. Let me be clear when programs, staff, teachers, teachers’ aides, and new teachers don't get tenure or extended and you get frustrated and angry just remember we brought this on ourselves with our failure to stand tough for the good of the whole district and community, as well as, the new teachers trying to get their careers started. You just couldn't have it both ways and now the real pain starts, sure some teacher’s will get their new increase but a lot of people are now going to be hurt by the reality of this economy and of course the union has now left a mess in their wake and are on to another battle. Folks this is no time to ask struggling families for a tax increases. (continued)
HAL E BERGER February 21, 2013 at 03:53 PM
(Part II) In my view a future tax increase referendum based on a failure and lack of courage by administrators and the board to stand tight in the face of deficits is not deserved. No longer in Illinois is it business as usual, people just can’t keep increasing taxes to fix someone else’s government folly by spending more taxpayer dollars that most taxpayers don’t have. A lot of people and families in D46 and some business people who are linked to D46 are now going to be hurt. It was predictable and now a lot of tenured teachers may have made a small gain at the cost of D46’s future. D46’s future is the young teachers who come with new ideas that are very energized and excited about teaching who many of which will now get pink slips.
Terri February 21, 2013 at 04:41 PM
...and they knew all this when they neglected to fully extend the levy...
HAL E BERGER February 21, 2013 at 07:42 PM
And they would not extend the levy and neither would any sane person who is responsible for their neighbors and community ..... that would mean a tax increases for people who can't afford it. Maybe you are well off but many of the people I talk with in Grayslake are NOT. That levy meant a tax increase ---- what in the world is with you anyway - don't you get the dilemma of this country and our government - I mean really Terri do you just ;like to fight to fight or are you really that narrow minded???

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