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Dist. 202 Facing $5.48M 2011-12 Budget Deficit

First public presentation happens Monday; no decisions made on whether job/program cuts are on the table.

A public presentation on 's proposed 2011-12 budget, projected to have a $5.48 million deficit in the education fund, will be held Monday.

John Prince, assistant superintendent for business and operations, will make the presentation at a special school board meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the district’s administrative center, 15732 Howard St., Plainfield.

While numbers can change before the public hearing on the budget, current projections show about $199.6 million in revenue and about $205 million in expenditures.

The school board has not discussed publicly or reached any decision on how to erase the shortfall and has made no decisions on whether to cut more jobs or programs.

Since March 2009, the district has eliminated about 260 full-time equivalent positions in order to save $33 million, district spokesman Tom Hernandez said.

In 2009, the district cut the equivalent of 86 full-time positions, which including 66 certified teachers and non-teaching staff, six administrative positions, 12 union support staff and two non-union support staff.

In 2010, 159 full-time equivalent positions were cut, including five administrative, 60 teachers, eight non-teaching certified staff, and 86 support staff.

This year, the district eliminated 12 Reading Recovery specialists and 15 differentiation specialists as the district moved to different models to teach struggling readers and gifted students.

The school board also opted to use $5.7 million in federal stimulus funds to save more than 80 jobs that were to be eliminated to reduce the deficit. The federal grant was a one-time source of revenue, and the district will not receive the stimulus funds again.

In addition to cutting positions, the district has taken other cost-savings measures in recent years, Hernandez said. Among these are reducing building and department budgets, freezing administrators’ salaries, making administrators pay more toward health care expenses and consolidating bus routes to save on transportation costs.

The proposed 2011-12 budget can be viewed on the district Web site, www.psd202.org.

In addition to Monday’s budget meeting, the school board will hold a public hearing at 5:45 p.m. Sept. 21 and will vote on the budget at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 26. All meetings will take place at the administrative center.

Lori Janiec August 26, 2011 at 02:17 PM
It will be interesting to see what the proposed cuts will be. Seems like this is just a never ending battle. BUT! The economy is "recovering", right?
Evie Michelle Kevish August 26, 2011 at 04:55 PM
This is terrible. I have been a resident of Plainfield for 3 years now. What kind of jobs are going to be eliminated? As Plainfield is continually growing there will be more kids in enrolled in District 202. How will this effect their education? I feel horrible for everyone in the school distrcit who is or will be losing their jobs. Something has got to be done in Plainfield and all over Illinois for that matter. School districts, taxes, gas, tolls what is next? Illinois will alienate people from this state if they continue to run things like this.
ja mee August 27, 2011 at 02:10 PM
How about cutting administrator's salaries...starting with the overpaid superintendant. In the interest of the children... leave those who are in direct contact with the kids where they are needed!
laura kordosky August 28, 2011 at 07:53 PM
I agree, start at the TOP this time! Lets face it, Dr. Harper is at the top with well over $300,000 a year salary, car, and other perks. Tom Hernandez isn't too far behind either. If everyone else has to work harder these days for less money, why shouldn't those at the Top too?
Lori Janiec August 29, 2011 at 03:56 PM
Even if we WERE to cut back on the fat of the Admin's salaries, what we would cut probably wouldn't put a dent in the deficit. The sad part about this is it's our children who lose! Reading Recovery was one of the programs cut this year for budgetary constraints and I know of several kids who will be suffering because of that. It's very sad. Hopefully, the district comes to an acceptable agreement without having to cut jobs or programs.
Jerry August 29, 2011 at 04:44 PM
The idea of slashing adminstrative salaries is a blue collar mentality that is basically flawed. The people who shout about administrator's salaries need to understand that as in any capitilist society the market sets the value. If you want to have capable and qualified leadership (whether in a business, school district, or even a non-profit organization) you have to pay what the market dictates they are worth. Look at other school districts around the state that are comparable in size to PSD 202 and you won't see a large difference in the top administrator's salaries. And Lori's point is correct...even if you cut in half the salaries of these "overpaid" administrators it wouldn't have a large impact on the budgetary shortfall. Efforts would be better spent trying to reform the way Illinois funds their public schools. As for Reading Recovery and similar programs being cut back and eliminated, I hate to say it, but parents need to pick up that slack. Somewhere along the way, parents have shifted the entire responsibility of their children's education onto the school system. Parents need to realize that they are responsible for their children's education and the school system is a partner and resource for them in that responsibility. Your kid is having a hard time learning to read? Sit down with them after dinner for an hour every night reading instead of parking in front of TV and video games and see what a difference that makes.
Betsey August 29, 2011 at 06:22 PM
For some of you that do not understand the "Cutting of Dr. Harper's position" Regardless of what you think you know, this man has a contract. If we cut his position before the end of his contract, we would still have to pay him. Which only would make us more in debt then we already are.
Lori Janiec August 29, 2011 at 06:58 PM
I agree that parents need to STEP UP and be PARENTS! Too many would rather put their children in 5 different activities so that they don't have to be HOME with the kids...keeping them busy = keeping them out of your hair. However, there are times when a child is beyond the parent's help. Sometimes it isn't a simple fix of sitting down and reading with your child. The children who were part of this program had issues like Dyslexia and other reading issues that made it more difficult for them to grasp basic reading skills. I don't know about you, but I have experience with that and it's beyond the scope of an average parent to help with. Again, it's ultimately the children that suffer. As it is, they miss out on so much of what we had when we were kids because of SAFETY and LIABILITY concerns, to add this is just sinful.
Jerry August 29, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Understood, Lori, and no I have no experience with what you describe. Correct me if I am wrong, but I would think that conditions like dyslexia would be considered a learning disability and would be handled through the special ed program. Point is, I am guessing that the population of Reading Recovery that actually requires help beyond what the typical parent could offer is small and could be accomodated through other existing programs.
Lori Janiec August 29, 2011 at 07:52 PM
Yes, normally it would, ONCE the child is diagnosed, but I suspect even THOSE programs have been greatly reduced leaving the parents to seek out SYLVAN or other 3rd party educators. I know we had to with my stepson.

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