Tuesday night, Belvidere school district leaders hosted hundreds of community members to discuss a $6.5 million deficit. Members of the public who wanted to speak got their two minutes in front of school board members and administrators. Most had a common message, like
"You guys are doing this pretty quickly and making huge decisions in such a short time."
Some residents think slower decision making is better decision making. Community members also had a chance to voice concerns about closing schools. Kishwaukee Elementary and Caledonia Elementary schools were popular items to put on the chopping block, but one parent answered back saying it should stay open. Decreases in enrollment and millions of dollars expected but not delivered by the state are to blame for this financial mess. According to administrators, District #100 should be gearing up to house around 12,000 students. Right now enrollment is around 8,500. Aside from big cuts like entire schools, there are smaller suggestions, like consolidating bus routes, implementing more online technology in classrooms and changing to a four-day school week. But, Superintendent Michael Houselog says it's likely there will be closures as well as staff reductions. One resident, Tracy Taylor, says her main concern is students' well-being.
"Just that our kids are still being taken care of as far as their education, they're our future and I want to make sure their education's still going to be there and that it's not going to suffer in any way for the kids." -she says.
School board members plan to continue discussion on these issues at their next meeting February 4th, inside Belvidere North High School.
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