Cuts, lay-offs, property sale & elimination all possible for - – Rockford’s News Leader

Cuts, lay-offs, property sale & elimination all possible for Ogle Co. school district

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Budget slashes or tax increases might be the only ways out of a $1 million budget deficit for Stillman Valley schools. District leaders say no matter what decisions will affect students.

Cutting all sports programs and activities revamping the bussing system laying off teachers and selling land. Those items would have the biggest impacts on the Meridian CUSD #223 spending plan.

Administrators made a list of $1 million total either saved or earned from cuts and revenue increases. Some of those slashes include staff members. Laying off nine teachers alone saves $500,000.

"This is really going to be a head count reduction in this district of somewhere between 25-37 people that's a lot of folks." -says Board of Education President John Smith.

School board members say every department will feel some piece of these reductions. Eliminating all sports and activities would save $400,000. Changing transportation to a one-tier bus system is a nearly $200,000 cut. Selling property next to Stillman Valley High School could add $800,000 to the budget. Another maybe more helpful revenue stream might mean less of those options, but would increase property taxes. School board members could ask for a referendum in the November 2014 election and get rid of the current ballot item selling $2 million in working cash bonds for relief over the next three years.

"Our desire would be to have that as a term-limited referendum somewhere between six and ten years, but not three, three is just not enough time to see the state rightside itself." -Smith adds.

Mostly staff and faculty made up the crowd Tuesday night. We tried reaching out to community members for a comment. No one wanted to go on camera, but told us they hope to see reductions in administrative costs as a top priority. Although, according to district projections, that can only save $75,000.

School board members have to make their referendum decision by August.

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