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UPDATED: Teacher Cuts, Referendum Part of D161 Cost-Cutting Proposals

New budget-trimming models were introduced at Wednesday's meeting as a way to make up for a 2012-13 deficit. Find out what it could mean for teachers and taxpayers.

Staff reductions and a possible education fund rate referendum were part of the final cost-cutting models  Superintendent Barb Rains unveiled Wednesday as proposals to make up for an expected $2.5 million deficit in the 2012-13 budget.

The models before the board, which serve as blueprints for the direction the district will take in dealing with the budget deficit, break down three ways: streamlining district operations, closing at least one school or by putting an ed rate referendum on the November ballot. The following gives the highlights of the plans:

Streamlining

Details: The biggest effect of this proposal would be a 14 percent staf reduction throughout the district, which would amount to a loss of 35 teachers and a savings of $570,000. 

Other savings would be drawn from restructuring bus routes ($235,400), cuts in consumables ($92,250), dropping half-day kindergarten ($450,000) and reorganizing administrative positions ($200,000).

This plan also would raise maximum class sizes by three across all the schools in the district, creating a savings of $300,000 by eliminating five sections.

Overall projected savings: $1.66 million

Closing Schools

Details: Versions of this idea have been under discussion since the board first discussed the 2012-13 budget deficit. The biggest difference in the model brought up Wednesday was the prospect of closing two schools. Closing one of the district's grades 1-4 schools would bring a staff reduction of 5 percent; closing two would take it to 9 percent.

It wasn't discussed Wednesday which schools would be closed, but ,  and  schools .

Overall projected savings: $500,000 for one school; $1.18 million for two schools.

Referendum

Details: Under this plan, the district would continue its regular operations, although it would continually look for places to make cuts to increase efficiency. However, this would mean an increase in property taxes for district homeowners if voters passed it. 

Overall projected savings: Undetermined. Rains said calculations would be made to determine the increase to taxpayers' bills if the board went in this direction.

Although the numbers in these belt-tightening plans don't cover the entire deficit, Rains said the intent is to look at this as a long-term strategy over three years. These cuts for 2012 would be the first step.

In 2013, the district will look at selling land behind , as well as renegotiating the teachers' union contract, which runs out at the end of the 2012-13. A contract-mandated salary increase next school year is a contributing factor to the deficit.

In 2014, the district will try to find savings in refinancing 2005 construction bonds that will be callable. 

What's Next?

There will be a final community meeting to discuss these plans at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at the district offices. After that, the board will discuss the proposals at a public workshop Feb. 4, where they will decide which direction to take. The official vote on that will be at the board's Feb. 8 meeting.

In an interview after the meeting, Rains emphasized that these plans are more maps as opposed to specific orders for the board to use to balance the budget. Implementation of these proposals won't come in one big action so much as guide decisions down the line, like when the board approves the next school year's budget in September, she added.

Using Cover It Live on Patch, you can read the play-by-play Wednesday's meeting by clicking on the box above. 

Are you kidding me? January 27, 2012 at 02:06 AM
UPDATE: Podcast is no longer on the district website.
Are you kidding me? January 27, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Think I hit a nerve?
Kerri U January 27, 2012 at 02:09 AM
I am not saying she is right or wrong in her implication. I am just saying, if a person looks at the current board and the division with Doyle on one side and everyone else on the other, that would be an plausible and probable assumption. Besides, right before the new board members were sworn in Doyle did vote for some very questionable expenditures which Ms. Kenny voted against, such as Pain's ridiculous raise right before he retired which upped his pension payout and in turn cost us even more money. So, are you kidding me is the question??? We are in crappy financial shape because the economy sucks. Our homes values have taken a dump. There have been high foreclosure rates in the square. All this adds up to less in tax payments and less students in attendance than previously estimated. Everyone needs to stop blaming everyone else and just fix it.
Kerri U January 27, 2012 at 02:13 AM
I am just trying to be fair on both sides which most people don't seem able to do. I didn't Mr. Doyle created the ruin of our district, I just pointed out the one vote in which I totally disagreed with. I even voted for him the last election, though maybe I shouldn't admit that. :) There are just so many factors to consider instead of pointing fingers. That is my point.
BWM January 27, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Joe, any idea if they can stop a citizen from going to a meeting and recording the meeting or videotaping the meeting?. Seems to me that they would not be able to stop that if someone wanted to do this...
Smith January 27, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Stick to what is valid. Mary Kenny and Joy Murphy have no right running that board and they clearly have no right running the financial committee. The fact that Joy can't answer a single financial question without referring to the outside guy, that our tax dollars pay for, is sad. These people are in charge of our money and a lot of it. They are making bad decisions against public outcry without care or regard. They have already made up their minds to close a school that it clearly present in the faces of Joy Murphy, Mary Kenny, Stacy and George, they are just going through the formalities to appease the public. If we don't stand up together as a community and put a stop to them who knows what further damage they are going to do. The simple fact is the economy sucks and it isn't getting better, there are some very tough decisions to be made and Mary Kenny, Joy Murphy, Stacy and George are not the right people in place to be making those decisions. They have proven that over and over with their carelessness. Examples, hiring a Superintendent without ever posting or interviewing a single person even though Pain left 5 months earlier, hiring back a board member without taking the time to interview all of the candidates and making an educated decision after doing so. And now making a haste decision like closing the school without taking the time to CAREFULLY review and analyze all of the information before making a decision.
Are you kidding me? January 27, 2012 at 02:28 AM
BWM. great idea. Maybe we can get Channel 6 there :)
informed January 27, 2012 at 02:37 AM
@Smith......RELAX you sound like your going to have a nervous breakdown. There is alot of games going on not just with the above mentioned board members but with Mr. Doyle being a master manipulator and entertaining his audience at every meeting....he doesn't impress me. I haven't heard him come up with one act to show he cares about kids....actually I think it may be a case of gavel with drawals. @Smith you sound like one of his followers...
Are you kidding me? January 27, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Smith, dont forget they hired Martin too in the Fall and never posted that position "Asst. Super", or bothered to interview anyone else. The board approved his hiring except Doyle before the public even knew what happened.
Smith January 27, 2012 at 02:52 AM
I am one of his followers! If I had to chose between your favorites or Doyle I chose him every time. I am not the one that needs to calm down, you are. Every single posting that you have ever made has either been to call out people for hiding behind their "names" where you seem to live so comfortably or to rip on anyone that doesn't back you and your ridiculous rants that having nothing to do with issues at hand but more to do with ripping on people because in the big picture of things you have nothing important to contribute to the conversation, you are anything but "informed". Mr Doyle has been the only one apposed to the stupidity of this board and I for one commend him for standing his ground. He is not just going to roll over like Mary Kenny and Joy Murphy would like him to do so they can continue to abuse our tax dollars by their careless decision making! I would love it if someone would video tape one board meeting and post it on the news, maybe then "informed" would finally see what everyone who actually attends the board meetings see. The fact that Joy Murphy and the financial committee in unwilling to move their meeting to a time when the rest of the world would be able to attend is just another point in my favor of their carelessness. And yes thank you "Are you kidding me" I almost overlooked their carelessness once again in hiring the "Asst Super". Well informed what's your thoughts and opinions about that? Anything productive? Probably not.
Smith January 27, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Thank goodness all that wasted time Joy Murphy put in in the last few board meetings that we were finally able to resolve the issue of when we should have parent/teacher conferences and Thanksgiving break. Boy I am so glad that we wasted precious minutes away from something so trivial as closing a school to get that setting, I'm sure they will all be able to sleep better now knowing that they were able to accomplish that! Thoughts "informed"?
Are you kidding me? January 27, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Really informed???? Last night Mr. Doyle had more "followers" than Kenny, Borgens, and Murphy. I think we, YES followers as you put it have you outnumbered now. We were really entertained last night by Murphy and Borgens. Wonder who called the poor tech guys and had them remove the Podcast? So much for TRANSPARENCY Mrs. Murphy.
informed January 27, 2012 at 03:20 AM
@Are you kidding me? and @Smith - You guys are giving Murphy alot of credit. It sounds to me that Doyle just likes to hear himself talk and he should have spent more time keeping track of finances....if the other board members say white Doyle says BLACK.....if the other board members say its sunny Doyle says it's cloudy.....if the other board members say it's snowing he says it's raining....if the other board members say it's purple Doyle says it's green. Get my drift....
informed January 27, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Borgens did a wonderful job last night. Mary Kenny was super duper. We missed Lenz and those awesome looks that she gives Mr . Doyle when he is challenging their every last word.
informed January 27, 2012 at 03:47 AM
@Smith it sounds like you attend board meetings for amusement. If you don't like hearing the board discuss issues on the agenda then don't go...why have a board meeting if they don't discuss issues. You don't complain when Sean holds up all progress on any subject by pontificating. Sean can discuss issues on anything he wants, but the other board members can't...I believe that is a double standard. Talk about biased.....
CJS January 27, 2012 at 03:54 AM
@Mary- I was not threatening anyone. In fact, your comment seems threatening itself. If Ed was unclear on my comment to him, I will answer him directly. No need to speak for anyone but yourself.
taxpayer January 27, 2012 at 04:38 AM
LOL "informed". I was JUST saying the same thing. Doyle loves to hear himself talk, and that he will disagree with anything and everything just to be the last to hear himself talk. With that said, this board needs to get their s%*t together really quickly. The circus show needs to end NOW. I do not know any board members personally but first impressions with some of the board members have not been a good one with me. Although I may agree with Mr. Doyle on a select few things, he lost my respect when he voted for a pay raise and contract extension for Keith Pain (yes I am bringing that up again). Knowing the current teacher salary is 80% of our expenses, and knowing last spring that we needed to make cuts, he agreed and voted on this increase and extension. But yet voted against making a part-time nurse, full time. Does this make any sense?? I still would love to hear his reasoning on this. Also, you will hear other members mention "for the children of this district" . NEVER ONCE have I heard Doyle mention "for the children of this district". I also may not agree with the other members of the board but at least they try and make us believe their actions "are for the children". Doyle does not.
taxpayer January 27, 2012 at 04:51 AM
I understand that parents (including myself) do not want to see ANY school closed. We do not want class sizes to increase, we do not want 1/2 day kindergarten, we do not want teachers to lose their jobs, and we do not want our taxes raised. BUT honestly, something has to give. We will not see another housing boom for many years to come. Placing blame for this mess is mute and pointless. It does not change the fact that our district is in the red. We can blame the old board, the new board, Mr. Pain......how does this fix the problem?? It doesn't. Not everyone will be happy with whatever happens. Are the homeowners of this community ready to pay higher taxes so things can remain the same??? I am not sure if I am. I think that is only a temporary fix for a year or 2, then what?? I have the utmost respect for Ms. Rains, and believe she will do what she thinks is best for the district with the least impact on our children. I also think that people of 161 need to think about what they are willing to sacrafice......a school or 2, higher class sizes, higher taxes, etc. Sadly, saying neither isn't an option.
Rose C January 27, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Well said taxpayer.
Are you kidding me? January 27, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Joe, can you find out why the Podcast from the 25th was removed? and when it will be posted for taxpayers/parents to listen too?? Thank you,
Joe Vince (Editor) January 27, 2012 at 02:51 PM
@BWM: You could do that. It's an open meeting. Any particular reason you would want to record it if it's already being recorded as a podcast? Joe Vince Local Editor, Frankfort
Joe Vince (Editor) January 27, 2012 at 02:53 PM
@Are you kidding me? I will check that out. I'm assuming it was posted already, right? I ask because the last time I checked (which was yesterday afternoon), it still hadn't been put on the website. Same thing for Wednesday's Power Point presentation. I'll let you know what I find out. Joe Vince Local editor, Frankfort
Thoughtful Citizen January 27, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Hello from Mokena 159. We went through all of this beginning two and a half years ago and all we heard was how we needed to emulate 161 and their finances. It just goes to show how everyone is in the same boat. It is just that 159 is a little ahead of you in the rapids. 159 is through most of it now and although it has been painful, it is now going in the right direction. We have a new board, a new superintendent, we are looking at every expenditure and we have had to make serious painful cuts. The state did this to us all and we all must suffer through the incompetence of the State government. Good luck 161...then 122... then 157c... then 210... Be kind to one another and do what is best for the whole LW area.
Are you kidding me? January 27, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Joe, the Podcast was up yesterday as I mentioned above, then removed. Looking forward to what you find out.. Thanks for your help!
Ericka January 27, 2012 at 05:46 PM
So how many of you blogging here were at the meeting last night? Well I was and I thought it was a great meeting!!! I felt that we had the chance to speak our peace and ideas. I think we all agree that the board the other night were acting like children on a playground and all I can say is that I hope they can move past it to make the right decision. It was brought to our attention last night that they are looking at a 3 year plan. So they will make some decision in February and then evaluate it over the next school year and see what more needs to be done. Unfortunately, using only one model will not result in enough money to cover the 2.5 million needed. A lot of us just asked for the streaming of the current model to be considered first then maybe in one year see if the need to close a school is there. At least by then it might be a less bitter pill to swallow. No one likes change and it is easier to go from a tight budget to spending big than the reverse, but it needs to be done!! The economy is crap and we all know it! Let's just hope they can make a sound decision for our children's future!
jd January 27, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Ericka Finally a voice of reason. You are right, change is hard, this is an awful situation. Something does need to be done. And hopefully they can make "sound decisions" for the children. The saddest part is that this is not the only school district having this problem. Lincolnway, our high school district, is in the same boat. This will also effect our children down the road. Hopefully everyone can make this meeting for Lincolnway tomorrow or if they can't I wonder if they podcast. Anyway lets just pray all of these people can sort this out.
Joe Vince (Editor) January 27, 2012 at 08:55 PM
@Are you kidding me?: Just spoke to Supt. Barb Rains. The podcast was pulled down to make sure that it didn't record anything after the meeting was adjourned. The podcasts just record the meeting. It should be back up on the website. Joe Vince Local editor, Frankfort
Joe Vince (Editor) January 27, 2012 at 09:00 PM
@tom: You are the rock star Frankfort Patch commenter of the week! I spoke with Supt. Barb Rains, and she says the number of teachers affected is incorrect. It would be lower. I'm waiting to get the revised report, and I will correct the article. Thanks for pointing that out. E-mail me at joev@patch.com when you get a chance. I want to get your address to send you some Patch gear. Joe Vince Local Editor, Frankfort
Rose C January 28, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Thank you Thoughtful Citizen! It is important that we all remember that the State started this mess - and now communities are stuck with the mess. We do need to pull together for the greater good - it's too bad that people would rather skewer elected VOLUNTEERS than work to find a solution that is in the best interest of the kids. That's what everyone is SUPPOSED to be fighting for.
Rose C January 28, 2012 at 04:33 AM
I was there too Ericka and I agree with you whole-heartedly. Hopefully more members of our community can set aside their childish behavior and started listening rather than spreading rumors. I think one of the best things to have come out of these "models" is that the community is showing up. I have been to many a board meeting that the only people in the audience were principals-who I believe are paid to be there. One thing I would like to see change is the level of respect in the room. I'm just as pissed off as anyone, but being disrespectful is unacceptable. We don't all have to agree, and I think I would be more concerned if the board had no discussion (which sometimes sounds like arguing), but we all need to be respectful of one anothers right to their opinion. Too bad the kindergarteners didn't stick around they could have taught some of the adults about PBIS.

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