District 205 Board Approves a Net $3 Million in Budget Cuts

New fees for athletics, music and art will add to revenue.

The budget evaluation process for Elmhurst Unit District 205 has ended. The board on Tuesday approved approximately $3.85 million in budget cuts and $857,146 in additional program funding, for a net budget reduction of about $3 million.

The cuts approved by the board include the elimination of 14.80 full-time equivalent faculty members, as well as several other staff positions. But positions will be added in the areas of reading support (4.0 FTE); related services, including social work (.2 FTE) and psychology (1.0 FTE); REACH (3.5 FTE); and special education (.2 FTE).  A “place hold” for the position of director of research and assessment also was approved.

Among the substantive changes to the  was the approval of a tiered-fee structure for athletics, no reduction in the number of middle school counselors (due to attrition), and the elimination of the middle school guidance program for eighth grade only.

Starting next school year, students participating in athletics will pay a per-student fee based on the cost of providing the sport. Students who play boys and girls basketball and golf will see the largest increase, from the current $110 to $200 per student. Boys cross country and track will have the smallest cost increase, from $110 to $125.

Also approved were fees for music and art. Next year, high schoolers wiIl pay a $150 to play in the orchestra or band and $65 to sing in the choir. Students in high school art classes will each pay $26 for materials and supplies.

After further review of the middle school guidance program, the board approved the recommendation to keep guidance classes for sixth- and seventh-graders for at least another year. However, the board approved integrating the eighth-grade guidance curriculum into health studies.

“In our audit of staff credentials needed for such a transition, we realized that most of the subject matter for sixth- and seventh-graders were social and emotional, which would fall under the social studies curriculum,” Karen Sullivan, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said. “Therefore, we had some issues as to how to integrate the certifications needed to teach social studies with new certifications for counselors.”

Sullivan said administrators will continue to evaluate the sixth- and seventh-grade guidance programs for next year.

A summary of the approved recommendations, including the new tiered fee structure for athletics, can be found here.

Paul Guerino March 09, 2011 at 06:59 AM
Lent began at midnight. The article was posted at midnight. Is there any significance in that fact? Lent is a time for thinking about your life and your relationships and what really is important in your life. I know that some people will see these fees as horrific. Others will see them as perfectly fair. The reason given for this fee structure seems to be that these fees are going to pay for an activity that you voluntarily choose . Your book fees depend on the classes you take. That is also a voluntary choice. As a retired person it seems a reasonable solution to a difficult problem. The most important thing is that the regular classroom seems to be only slightly impacted. I did see on the attatched sheet a decrease in teachers. This bothers me if class size is going to increase.
Band Parent March 09, 2011 at 02:04 PM
How does taking a Band or Orchestra class differ from taking any other class, i.e. Cooking, Chemistry, etc.? I understand an extra fee at the elementary level. It is a class outside of the normal day. Will students taking other performing arts classes such as guitar or piano pay a fee? I am trying to wrap my mind around the difference with this class and others. People will pay the fee because students that are in Band and Orchestra at the High School level are dedicated to music. Most students either rent or own their instruments. Will these fees go directly to the Performing Arts Department? I hope to see a separate line item for these fees directly affecting that department.
Jan Dorner March 09, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Dan, Below is a table from the 2/22 school board meeting. Currently, the class size max for grade school is 24 and I think for middle school is 26 (per the 2006 education fund referendum). The High School did not have an actual number max. Please note that there will be a change in class sizes for next year. (FTE mean # of full time equivalent teachers that would be reduced) The part labeled "original" was the administrations first suggestion and the "alternate" was the final that was agreed upon. : Original Alternate K-2 26 students maximum (5.0 FTE) 25 students (3.0 FTE) 3-5 28 students maximum (9.0 FTE) 27 students (5.0 FTE) 6-8 30 students maximum (6.8 FTE) 28 students (2.2 FTE) 9-12 31 students maximum (7.6 FTE) 29 students (4.6 FTE) Although new maximum class sizes were identified, class size averages district wide would be less than the recommended maximums: K-2 21.8 students 21.2 3-5 24.1 students 23 6-8 26.6 students 25.2 9-12 28.2 students 26.8 Total savings $2,101,411 $1,094,914
Paul Guerino March 09, 2011 at 07:30 PM
Dan, Every year the BOE lets go and then rehires. This is reality for teachers every spring. The state will not be returning our money to our schools in the way that it was promised. The fact that there will be total local funding for schools is becoming more real every year. Big government can never deliver on all it promises. There is not enough money in your pocket to pay all the taxes that it would take pay for everything that politicians promise. Officials get elected by promising voters more services while promising to cut taxes at the same time. I think we, the tax payers, have to look upon ourselves as part of the problem. I can never understand why people vote for pie in the sky theorists. Maybe they do because realists are frightening. They talk about the unpleasant things and not what people want to hear. I would love the people of this state to recall some of our local, state, and federal officials. Unless the votes "Throw the bums out" it is always going to be business as usual.
Jan Dorner March 09, 2011 at 07:41 PM
Sorry, the chart did not come out as a chart. Bottom line is: for a $1,094,914 savings, next year the maximum class size for K-2 will be 25 students, for 3rd thru 5th grade is 27 students, fro 6th -8th grade it is 28 students and for high school it is 29 students. This equates to a loss of almost 15 teachers (14.8). These are permanently removed positions.
Jan Dorner March 10, 2011 at 02:28 AM
Yes, the removed positions are different than staff that is RIF'd. A school district might let some non-tenured staff go in the Spring (RIF - reduction in force) according to what the contract says. Then, as they are planning for the next school year they may hire all or most back to fill spots once they figure out how classes are divided. With the process this year, the decision was made to accept larger class sizes. This means less teachers will be needed next year. There is further info as far as teachers are concerned. Although the Board approved the administrations recommendation is increase maximum class sizes, they also chose to add 4 additional reading specialist (one at each middle school and one at Conrad Fischer) and 3.5 gifted (REACH) teachers (so that each school has at least one REACH teacher. So, some of the classroom teacher who will be released may be eligible for one of these other positions. The reading specialists must have a reading endorsement, I think. I'm told that a lot of classroom teachers do have this type of endorsement. I don't believe there is a gifted endorsement, but the teachers may have to take some classes to be considered for the REACH positions. Even with these additional certified staff positions, there will be a net reduction of 13.34 FTE (full time equivalent) certified (teaching) staff.


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