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District 308 Superintendent Proposes Budget Cuts

Feb 28, 2017 07:47AM, Published by Steven Jack, Categories: Education, Today, News


Dr. John Sparlin



By Allison Selk

School District 308 Superintendent John Sparlin presented a plan to cut a total of $3.6 million from the district's 2017-18 academic year budget to the School Board Monday evening.

The district is facing a projected $7.3 million deficit for the coming academic year. The board discussed, but took no action, on the recommendations during the meeting.

Sparlin noted the district previously implemented $3.2 million in budget cuts for the current academic year. Those cuts included a reduction in departmental budgets and an administrative salary freeze.

He said the prior cuts were not one-year cuts, but reoccurring, so once they implement cuts for the 2017-18 year, the district will have reduced spending by nearly $8 million in two years without eliminating any programs.

Sparlin gave recommendations for cuts the 2017-18 year, which will result in a $3.6 million savings, with personnel cuts netting a savings of $1.5 million. The proposed cuts are as follows:

  • Student advancement placement exams will be paid by students--saving $220,000.
  • Re-evaluate substitute usage for meetings--saving $50,000.
  • Limit high school courses to seven per day--saving $350,000.
  • High school level elective courses will run only if class size are 28 or greater--saving $700,000. (This cut was discussed as developing programs still have low enrollment. The board decided to look into this item further.)
  • Junior high and high school classes use 32 students as a guide for class sizes, up from 30--saving $500,000.
  • Elementary level-K-2 use 25 as guide for class size, now 28, and grades 3-5 uses 28 as a guide for class size, and will now use 30--savings $1.2 million.
  • Institute “no pay, no play.” Students must pay school fees to participate in extra curricular activities--saving $140,000.
  • Renegotiate electrical contracts--saving $235,000.
  • Field trips costs will be incurred by students--saving $190,000
The class size recommendations proved a topic for debate with the board, and Sparlin said the numbers proposed are in line with other districts, and size will depend on individual classes and needs.

Board president Matthew Bauman asked Sparlin what other avenues of savings could be found, and Sparlin said the board has a choice to not approve a new curriculum which would cost approximately $880,000 and to cut junior high athletics for a savings of $600,000.

“It’s not pretty,” Bauman said.

Sparlin said he could get the district out of the $7.3 deficit, but that would include further talks of cutting programs, which he feels isn’t necessary at this time.

East View Plan Approved

In other business Monday evening, the board voted 6-0 to approve the East View Alternative Plan, which is project to save the district approximately $2.7 million. Board member Greg O'Neil was absent from the meeting and the board's.

The plan highlights included the maintenance of the Early Learning Program at Brokaw Early Learning Center, the movement of kindergarten students back to home schools, move G.O.A.L. and Opportunity programs to East View Elementary School, and relocate remaining district departments to East View Elementary School, which will open up needed classroom space at Murphy Junior High School and Oswego East High School.

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