District 31 To Cut Some Teachers, Staff
District announces budget cuts for 2012-13 school year, including cuts to one and a half teaching positions and several staff members.
Despite passing a $1.8 million property tax referendum on Tuesday, West Northfield School District 31 will go ahead with some cuts to teachers and staff next year.
In a message distributed to parents via e-mail late Friday afternoon, Superintendent Alexandra Nicholson and Board of Education President David Handler announced several reductions to the district’s payroll, including one full-time first grade teacher and one half-time kindergarten teacher.
In January, Nicholson announced that the district might make up to $1 million in cuts over the next two years if the referendum didn’t pass. She also stated that the district might go forward with some of those cuts even if the referendum did pass.
“With the winning of the referendum, the board of education will not be implementing the two-budget reduction plan,” the message to parents read. “We have, however, identified budget efficiency reductions as a result of our planning for 2012-2013.”
Patch could not reach Nicholson directly for comment before publication.
Based on current levels of enrollment, the district will need three half-day kindergarten classes and three first grade classes next fall, rather than four of each grade, according to the message to parents. That means that Winkelman School will be cutting one full-time first grade teacher and one part-time kindergarten teacher.
According to the e-mail, however, those cuts do not necessarily mean that teachers will be laid off.
“There is a possibility that these reductions may be made through attrition,” the message read.
Also on the chopping block is one full-time Spanish bilingual instructional assistant. According to the message, the district’s large Spanish bilingual class will be split into two classes to be run by certified bilingual teachers. Because the classes will be smaller, an instructional assistant will not be needed.
The district is also planning to cut a part-time Korean social worker—because no other ethnic groups are offered such services—and a part-time speech and language pathologist.
A part-time health office assistant position at Winkelman School will also be eliminated, and the school’s health offices will be run by the district’s two registered nurses, according to the message.
Finally, the district is planning to outsource five of its nine current custodial positions.
In the message, Nicholson and Handler thanked parents for their support of the referendum, and stressed that the reductions were part of the district’s standard annual review of its budget.
“Your support of the tax rate increase speaks volumes to us,” the message read. “Please be assured that we take our fiscal responsibility seriously and will continue to use taxpayer funds with utmost care while providing excellent educational programs for our students.”