"We're cutting into bone"
Thu, 24 Mar 2011 16:37:44 GMT —
UPDATED: March 24 at 3:30 p.m.
Budget cuts hit 43 people in the Quincy Public School District.
After you consider retirements, 31 staff members will be out of a job in the fall.
A lot of those people are involved in the Early Childhood Program in Quincy.
Superintendent Lonny Lemon says the state has not paid a single penny to the district for the Early Childhood Program this school year.
Money may come through later this spring or summer, but Lemon says that's a gamble the district couldn't afford to take.
Lonny Lemon says, "It's extremely frustrating on many accounts. We have to displace non-tenured staff in other areas to give Early Childhood members who are tenured a spot for next year," says Lemon.
Lonny Lemon also reminds you this same thing happened two years ago, and at the last minute, money came through for Early Childhood. But by the time that happened, those teachers already had planned to teach something else, or found a job elsewhere. It's a headache the state of Illinois gives districts like Quincy when it doesn't pay its bills. Besides Early Childhood, three teachers will be let go from Baldwin Intermediate School. That starts to affect class sizes.
Lemon says, "We anticipate just by removing staff by the amount of kids we have now. The other factor is move-outs and move-ins. We'll see a slight bump in class size, at least at Baldwin."
Whenever teachers and staff are cut, there are questions about district administrators.
Lemon says, "This is the first year in the last four we haven't had an administrator cut. We look at our overall numbers and I believe we're down eight from six years ago."
The school board hasn't discussed possible cuts to administrators until it deals with the teacher's union contract. Lemon says he doesn't know where else administrators could be cut without leaving some school buildings without principals.
Lonny Lemon told KHQA the Quincy school district's biggest issue is finding a reliable revenue source.
In the last few years, the district has had to cut more than ten million dollars out of its budget.
He says the district cannot count on state payments, and this district's tax levy is the lowest allowed by law.
That levy is $1.84.
Other districts comparable to Quincy's size are closer to $2.58.
Quincy cannot raise its levy without a referendum, and Quincy voters have not passed a school tax referendum in more than 30 years.
Superintendent Lonny Lemon says the district has already cut the fat, tissue, and the muscle, but now we're into the bone.
31 employees with the Quincy Public School District will be out of a job next school year.
Wednesday night, the Quincy School Board officially voted to cut staff.
That's because the State of Illinois owes the district $3 million, not to mention the district has a $1 million deficit.
Some people noticed School Board President Bud Niekamp left in the middle of the school board meeting Wednesday night. We ran into Niekamp at the School Board office Thursday and he told us he had a previous commitment, and informed the board in advance he would have to leave early. Superintendent Lonny Lemon confirmed the board tried to move the meeting to accommodate Niekamp, but couldn't get everyone's schedules to line up.
Click here to read more from The Quincy Herald-Whig's Edward Husar who writes that the "Teachers union president says 'doomsday' atmosphere affecting morale."
What's going to happen to class sizes, and how realistic are the cuts? We want to hear from you ... share your comments below or go to our Facebook page and join the conversation.
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