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Apr 25, 2012 7:34 PM by Andy Koen

Layoffs likely as D11 board discusses budget cuts

As many as 54 jobs are on the block as the District 11 Board of Education takes a preliminary vote tonight to cut some $8.6 million from the 2012-2013 school year budget. Of the job cuts identified, 25 would come from schools, around 17 from central administration and another 12 will be specialty Literacy Resource Teachers (LRT's.)

"To be honest, every dollar counts again this year, but it's even worse this year," said board member Bob Null.

Some of the job cuts at the schools will be absorbed through attrition. For example, seven of the 25 positions identified are for vacant Special Education teachers.

However, many of the central administration positions and all 12 LRT's will face layoffs. Null says it's been a difficult process to decide on these cuts.

"Everyday I go to a lot of schools and I go around with the staff a lot, I'm on like 11 committees, and so I get to see these people and I know it's likely that some of those I won't see so, it's tough."

Literacy Resource Teachers are specialized positions that look at student testing data and customize lesson plans to improve achievement. Earlier budget proposals called for the elimination of the entire program, but Chief Financial Officer Glenn Gustafson says a compromise was struck to save jobs.

Elementary schools will share three of the LRT's while middle and high school teachers will take on the responsibilities of the LRT's that are to be cut.

"In high school they have more planning time than they do at the elementary level," Gustafson explained. "So, a lot of time high school teachers and middle school teachers can pull their own data and get those things done, where as in the elementary school level they just don't have that kind of time."

Another $1.6 million will be saved during two district wide furlough days during Thanksgiving week. High school parking permits will increase from $10 to $50. Golf and hockey players will also pay higher athletic fees.

Tonight's vote is one of a series of expected before the budget is finalized in late June. Despite the layoffs, another $1.8 in cuts still need to be identified.

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