The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

April 5, 2014

D118 to look at cuts, uniforms

(Continued)

The dress code for balanced-calendar Northeast Elementary Magnet School students — black, navy blue or khaki pants, white shirt and white shoes — remains unchanged.

Administrators contend the uniform standard of dress has nothing to do with actual school uniforms, but rather is a consistent way of dressing. They contend the standard for dress will improve the learning environment, reduce classroom distractions, bridge socio-economic differences and increase students’ self-respect and self-esteem.

At last month’s school board meeting, some board members thought the proposed dress code had too many variables, making it cumbersome and difficult for administrators and teachers to monitor.

Also on Wednesday, board are scheduled to:

• Consider a Reduction in Force (RIF) and reducing other expenses.

The possible reductions in staff that have been proposed include two grant-funded Title I math coaches for a savings of $122,333; non-certified positions including seven class-size teaching assistants for a savings $214,305; and a family liaison position for a savings of $32,082. Any staff that would be affected by the reductions would be notified 45 days before the end of the school year.

“We may have some who resign or retire and then the position would not be filled,” Denman said.

Board members also will consider reducing costs for travel and instructional supplies and building and grounds supplies, which would save an additional $100,000.

The cuts are necessary because funding remains a challenge for the school district. The district is receiving only 89 percent of its state aid allotment, which amounts to a loss of $3 million a year. It is projected the state funding level might drop to 85 percent next year, which would be a loss of an additional $1.1 million to the district plus a $100,000 loss in special education funding.

Expenses are projected to increase $117,418 for district transportation costs and $260,204 in salary increases, which includes $839,000 in pay raises that is offset by $579,000 in cost savings due to retirements and hiring new staff at lower wages. It is unknown how much insurance costs may increase next school year.

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