For students at one Boone County elementary school, come fall, those doors won't open again. This and other cuts were voted on by Belvidere Board of Education members Monday night.
Each of the seven board members took a moment to say these were tough calls for them to make and that they acted in the best interest of the district.
"It's not fiscally sound to continue to operate schools that we're not utilizing fully." -they say.
With a six to one vote, Kishwaukee Elementary closes at the end of this school year despite parents defending their children's second home.
"We love our community. Kishwaukee Elementary ties our community together, it's important to us." -says one Garden Prairie man.
Board members worked to keep aspects that affect the students directly. Cutting the full list would have saved the district $4.2 million against a $6.5 million deficit, but they only walked away with $2.4 million in cuts. That means features like a seven-period school day stay as is instead of reducing down to six periods.
"With those electives, that is really how you find out what you want to do and what you like to do and what you'd like to become. So, if we take some of those away it's really doing a disservice to our kids." -says district parent Kathe Keithley.
"It's so hard being a teenager, growing up and trying to figure out what you want to do in life and why limit that to a student? These classes help you find out what you want to do." -says Belvidere North High School junior Diana Lopez
Other cuts made, eliminating field trips unless the money is raised or provided by the state through grants, getting rid of the district's end of the year retirement dinner, board members closed Endeavor High School which is an alternative school and eliminated two assistant principal positions.
Since the district is still about $4 million in the red, Superintendent Michael Houselog says they'll dip into cash reserves to mend some of that. The rest can be solved by exploring different avenues of money-saving, like negotiating teachers contracts.
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