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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. 

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 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 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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