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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.

14. 5.

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.

HAL E BERGER February 22, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Our public education system is broken. Its more than just the testing. It is what we have done to restrict teachers from teaching, being creative, and forward thinking in the class room. We can't expect a world class education when each student is treated as a milk toast cog in an eveeryone gets taught the same wheel. Yes, teaching to a test is horrid, but teaching the whole year the same material to every single child regardless is a total disaster for our children and our country. When I was in third grade at a private school I was learning algebra, French, music theory & building scales, & what passes for HS general science. We were building & designing accurate scale solar systems. No one bothered to tell us that 3rd graders didn't learn algebra or French, so we did. That is what an unrestricted system can do for our children. By the way I went to that school when the public school failed me & held me back a year. They didn't know what to do with me. I was bored, what did they expect. The private school took the time to listen to me, me not some standardized concept & put me back up that year instantly. I was a top student because someone cared enough to know me & not provide same for everyone education. I say this not to brag but to point out that if you expect more, free up our teachers to teach, & you will get more. Once free it won’t take long to determine who the teachers are that lack the skills or motivation.
Tony February 22, 2013 at 11:15 PM
@ Terri: Huh?
Tony February 22, 2013 at 11:17 PM
@ Sully: I didn't suggest your post was liberal. I simply stated your link came from a liberal source. Did you not read the post prior to commenting on it?
Tony February 22, 2013 at 11:17 PM
@ Terri: Again... Huh?
Tony February 22, 2013 at 11:27 PM
@ Sully: Speaking of faked research, did you happen to notice all the global warming which occurred overnight? lol Come on Sully, don't be so mean spirited. A comment such as yours would suggest perhaps maybe you are the one suffering from closed mind syndrome. I have a question for you sully, would you have the nerve to confront people, face to face, in the same manner and tone as you do here? I think not. I think Sully's lacking testosterone levels would prohibit such an action. But we've had this conversation in the past......
Sully February 23, 2013 at 12:04 AM
So Tony- it snows in the winter when it's supposed to , so that means the climate is not changing. Okay. If you really want to talk about research and the percentage of scientists around the globe who believe in it's existence vs. the percentage of those who don't, I'd be happy to provide that for you. Maybe I'll start with the Koch Brothers team who were supposed to disprove it, but came out with the opposite instead. Or maybe I'll point you in the direction of the oil and coal industry CEOs who paid millions of dollars in order to debunk scientists.
Sully February 23, 2013 at 12:20 AM
How long ago was that, Hal? I didn't take it that you were bragging. I didn't attend public schools either. I know public schools are not for everyone, and they obviously have their faults. I do know public school districts today, and I can tell you that not all are teaching the same stuff to all of the kids regardless of their skills. I've been impressed by some schools and I've been horrified by some. Sometimes both within the same district. It's not fair to generalize all public schools into a lump sum. There are too many variables within a school system, and in individual schools, to compare them all the same way.
Tony February 23, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Oh come on little Sully, we’ve been slowly warming from the last ice age for the last 10k years or so. I know, I know; this tends to counter the creation theory (another one of your favorite immature rants). I have to be honest with you, I don’t care about the single sided research, the percentage of scientists who believe or don’t believe, nor do care what parts of the world any of them reside. And, I congratulate the Koch brothers for building such a successful private enterprise, which provides many opportunities for others. Oh and those horrible oil and coal CEO’s, you libs and your goofy conspiracy theories. lol Thanks for the offer, but no thanks. Why don’t you have that little conversation with yourself, inside your closed mind…..
Sully February 23, 2013 at 01:32 AM
http://www.care2.com/causes/corporations-funding-climate-change-denial.html http://www.policymic.com/articles/24604/3-states-are-pushing-a-bill-to-require-teaching-climate-change-denial-in-schools http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/04/inside-kochs-climate-denial-machine http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/global_warming_denial_machine.html http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3722126.html http://www.prwatch.org/node/9915 http://newint.org/features/2009/12/01/corporate-influence/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/sep/20/oilandpetrol.business http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/30/us-oil-donated-millions-climate-sceptics http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Exxon_Mobil -and so many more, but this has nothing to do with this article, Tony.
HAL E BERGER February 23, 2013 at 01:40 AM
(part I) What difference does it make how long ago I was in school? ,,, The key is who today is teaching these courses to third graders and why not? If I could learn algebra, music theory, & French in 3rd grade then so can our children learn whatever high level skills they will need to face our future job markets competing in a global economy. Teaching to tests, is driven by programs like "no child left behind" and other federal and state mandates. In public education yes granted some schools don't teach at all, and a very few excel like the New Trier and the Stevensen District do. In these schools the parents demand their children be taught at a much higher level and they won’t sit silent and wait for someone else to do it for them. Yes, there are some here who demand it, we are one of those families, but they are few, and overpowered by a weak system bogged down in government red tape and the political correctness to treat everyone the same. NONSENSE I SAY !!! We were one of the parents who taught our kids, perhaps you may be too? It seems the ones who wanted more for their children were the ones who were active at our schools and BOE meetings. No we didn’t all agree on a lot of topics but we all agreed and demanded more for our children. We learned fast and didn’t wait for someone else to do it.
HAL E BERGER February 23, 2013 at 01:41 AM
(part II) Many families including ours taught our children what they could not get or learn in public school. Yes high level reading, writing, French, math, and music at our own expense. Straight A’s that some view as the exception we viewed as necessary to succeed in a changing world. Look at schools where the parents fight for their children, Stevenson and New Trier has so many students high level students they dominate the school. Most easily get into colleges and many are not only qualified to apply they are prepared to do the heavy lifting it takes to excel in college. They are prepared and it doesn’t just take dollars to do this it takes parents with a drive. As I look closely the parents are constantly involved and as a result the educators are on their toes and are excited. This is what they were trained for. This is what a good teacher wants to teach and with the children’s parents help they get it. The point about many good schools is not accepted at all, there are too few. I see and talk about what is entering college and today many children are not prepared. Yes, there are many exceptions but not enough. I live in a world surrounded by teachers, professors, administrators, superintendents, professionals of all kinds, and even psychologists. An common comment by the professors I know very well they protest often that so many students in the first year of college at our state universities, that's if they can survive the first semester, --
HAL E BERGER February 23, 2013 at 01:42 AM
(part III ) Our children in many cases are not remotely prepared or motivated to do college level work. Our education system, is milk toast and our country as a result is in decline. Many of our youth does not, will not, or cannot produce to build that future for their families and our nation. So many young people today entering the job market don’t want to work hard enough to learn their field or to build a career for their own future. I found over the recent years, and I still find as a professional and a leader in my field that if the job is too complex more than a few give up and only a few are driven to do what it takes to succeed. Many graduate college and are not prepared, they expect a high level position with a lot of pay but they can’t do the job and are not prepared. They can’t handle the demands it takes to learn or do the job. It takes knowledge, skill, and quality to do this new worlds more demanding jobs. Many of us are not demanding, today it may not be the courses I had in 3rd grade but the point is we can demand and expect much more form both schools and our children. As parents and educators we need to grasp that is what the milk toast and entitlement society is creating, a second class nation mind set.
Terri February 23, 2013 at 01:47 AM
Whoa...someone have a cocktail?
Nightcrawler February 23, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Curmudgeon on the rocks.
HAL E BERGER February 23, 2013 at 02:03 AM
No !!! I rarely drink -- I'm just livid ---- I dedicated 4 years to D46 as a BOE member and President and my group worked very hard to leave D46 in good shape. We did fairly well at it. D46 didn't have to be at this point where they are over $2mm in deficit and will now be forced to cut important staff, young teachers, and programs. I'm angry because tough decisions needed to be made and they were not made - not by the BOE - not by the administrative team - and in this incredibly tough economy where home prices are still not where they should be but property taxes have not declined this makes it almost impossible to present and pass a referendum. Now Grayslake D46 faces choices that will be even more frustrating, angering, and harder on the community.
Sully February 23, 2013 at 02:13 AM
New Trier and Stevenson are also populated by those with a lot of money. Not much poverty in those areas, not a lot of kids lacking for anything.
Tony February 23, 2013 at 01:36 PM
I just couldn't imagine having so little to do, especially on a Friday evening. Every evening for that matter. Every day if you really think about it. What a pathetic, boring, lonely existence. I suggest Sully, like so many have done, "retire" this login and create another one named Gullum. lol...
HAL E BERGER February 23, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Money isn't the issue parental attitude is. It doesn't take a lot of money to demand more from yourself, your children or a school. Obama is not always my favorite but he is an example of "I can do it" no one else but him and his family got this poor kid through Harvard.
Sully February 23, 2013 at 03:43 PM
Money is an issue if you don't have it. You can't pay for outside tutoring if it's needed, you can't "buy" a diagnosis such as ADHD in order to have special accommodations given on local and state tests, and college entrance exams, you can't always provide enough food for your children, and you don't have the luxury of buying computers, educational software, and learning toys for the younger kids. Parental attitude is very important, but so is just being able to live day to day. College educated parents are also better for the kids, but not everyone is college educated. Using money the same way for all IS a waste, but if used appropriately, it can provide resources that would help reach and educate the students (or schools, I should say), in a more realistic way.
Sully February 23, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Hal, you are also assuming that everyone has the same intellectual ability that you have. Even for kids who want to do well, if they don't have the basic skills, or have a learning disability or a cognitive impairment, they will not learn as easily as you were able to. They CAN learn- I wouldn't say they can't, but they may need different avenues in order to learn. One more thought- research has proven that early exposure to education and young children being challenged cognitively with a broad variety of experiences, develops the mind to be more open to learning. The young mind needs stimulation or it will not be as proficient as it could be. Students who have not been stimulated beforehand, and who have not been exposed to early educational opportunities enter Kindergarten already behind their peers. In today's academic environment, when entering Kindergarten, kids have to already know things that when we were kids (or at least when I was a kid), weren't even thought about until sometime in the first grade at the least. Child development is no longer considered when curriculums are being formed, and that is not fair. My point is, the playing field is not the same for all students even when in the same grade.
Lennie Jarratt February 23, 2013 at 11:22 PM
Thanks for helping my argument for school choice.
Lennie Jarratt February 23, 2013 at 11:27 PM
You are so correct Hal. Too many on here don't want to make any cuts. They just want more and more regardless of the economics in the district, state, and country.
Lennie Jarratt February 23, 2013 at 11:47 PM
NCLB was bipartisan legislation most notably by ted Kennedy and Pres. Bush. It is disaster which gave the feds more control at the expense of the local district, teachers and parents. Pres Obama reauthorixrd it while grabbing even more federal control st the expense of the local community.
Terri February 24, 2013 at 12:34 AM
The legislation was proposed by President George W. Bush on January 23, 2001. It was coauthored by Representatives John Boehner (R-OH), George Miller (D-CA), and Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Judd Gregg (R-NH).
Terri February 24, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Speaking of which, should funding follow the child, where would those funds come from? Whose money will "follow the child"?
Sully February 24, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Sorry Lennie. I prefer making the public schools better, rather than throwing them away. Some Charters actually follow rules and have a standard. CPS has some, as a matter of fact. They don't try to teach some made up, Christian fundamentalist version of life on Earth or revisionist history. Unregulated charters are not held accountable for either its curriculum or it's usage of public monies. Some for-profit charters break so many rules, and use so much money to line their leaders' pockets, these people should be in jail. But hey, when you have something that's not held accountable or has no regulations, what can you expect? No Lennie, I'm not advocating for more charter schools. Sorry about that.
Sully February 24, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Well Terri, certainly not Lennie's.
Sully February 24, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Lennie, I've always heard you don't pay your taxes. Is that true?
Sully February 24, 2013 at 01:01 AM
That's your opinion about NCLB (legislation which has been reckless at best- unfunded mandates are a joke). But how about offering some facts about how NCLB has failed local districts. You've offered your opinion- now back yourself up.
Lennie Jarratt February 24, 2013 at 06:45 AM
There you go again, making stuff up about what I want and then still expect me to answer your questions. So predictable.

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