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Ball-Chatham Schools Propose Staff, Program and Spending Cuts
Like many school districts in central Illinois, the Ball-Chatham School District is in the red. That is why the administration is recommending the school board pass $2.6 million in cuts.
“The board's directive to us was to balance the budget but do so with the least amount of impact as possible to students,” Ball-Chatham Superintendent Carrie VanAlstine said.
It's a difficult thing to do, with less money from the state going toward the district that is growing.
“Now the only reason that we're doing as well as we are is because of that increase in the number of people and the number of businesses in the district because as they come on the tax rolls we have that property tax available to us,” Ball-Chatham School Board President Jim Neuses said.
But that is still not enough to balance the district’s $40 million budget, which is more than $800,000 short.
“The largest portion of our education fund is our salaries and benefits, and so those are the areas that we focus on very heavily,” ValAlstine said.
The plan is for administrators, like VanAlstine, to take a pay freeze. Then, some positions will be eliminated through attrition and lay-offs.
“Between 15 and 17 teaching positions as well as some athletic positions," VanAlstine said.
And speaking of athletics, school sports and clubs are facing cuts too.
“There are some reductions in the number of students that may be involved in an athletic sport because we have fewer coaching," VanAlstine said. "We're reducing some of the coaching staff."
The district is also reducing spending by holding on to an aging bus fleet to save $300,000.
“We know we can delay that cost," VanAlstine said. "We can put that off as well as things such as uniforms or textbook purchases."
Meanwhile, the president of the union that represents teachers in the district said these cuts have resulted in increased class size, and further cuts are very concerning.
The school board will vote on the proposal in March.