Mar 7, 2011 6:58 PM by Andy Koen
Over the next few months the District 11 Board of Education will begin making decisions on where to cut an estimated $12.5 million dollars from next year's budget. District Chief Financial Officer Glenn Gustafson says a large portion of that cut could come from the classroom.
"By and large just about everything we do is on the table this year," Gustafson said. "We will be reducing staff this year, that's a certainty; the question is how many. "
One proposal calls for larger class sizes. Increasing just one student per classroom eliminates the need for 81 teaching positions at a savings of roughly $6-7 million dollars. This is the 4th straight year the district has faced multimillion dollar budget cuts and Gustafson says they have they can no longer keep the cuts from affecting schools.
"We have not affected the number of teachers until now, and evidence of that is we actually have more teachers now than we did 10 years ago when our enrollment was 10 percent higher," Gustafson said.
He says any job cuts would start with the administrative positions and he hopes to make as many cuts as possible through attrition.
Board members are also considering limiting bus routes by increasing the walking distance radius for middle and high school students. They are also considering charging bus fees.
However, the cost savings from those measures wouldn't be as great as it would with furlough days. Gustafson says each furlough day could potentially save the district between $800,000 and $1 million dollars.
"We currently have more time built into our instructional calendar than is required, so we could have a few furlough days."
For convenience sake, the furlough day would likely be scheduled near Thanksgiving and/or Spring Break.
The district does have roughly $10 million in savings and Gustafson says they will use some of the money to cushion the blow.
"Just like if you lost your job and couldn't pay your mortgage, you wouldn't want to pay your mortgage out of your savings account every month because sooner or later it's all gone and you have nothing left for anything else."
The district is also considering a 1-2 percent pay cut across the board. However, board members see that option is a last resort.
D11 is hosting a series of public meetings to discuss the budget cuts. Gustafson will make a 30 minute presentation at each meeting and will then answer questions. Meeting dates, times an locations are as follows:
Thursday, March 10, Coronado High School Auditorium, 6:00 - 7:30pm
Tuesday, March 15, Wasson High School Mini Auditorium, 6:00 - 7:30pm
Thursday, March 17, Doherty High School Auditorium, 6:00 - 7:30pm
Tuesday, March 29, Palmer High School Lecture Hall, 6:00 - 7:30pm
Wednesday, March 30, Mitchell High School Room 12, 6:00 - 7:30pm
Thursday, March 31, Tesla Auditorium, 6:00 - 7:30pm