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posted: 3/30/2010 12:01 AM

Fox Lake Dist. 114 to cut staff, programs

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Fox Lake Elementary District 114 officials say they will cut teacher and staff positions and some programs to make up for an estimated $1.4 million decline in state funding projected next year.

Superintendent John Donnellan said District 114 will lay off four teachers and three support staff members and not fill two open teacher positions caused by retirement to make up the funding shortfall in the fiscal 2010-11 budget, approved in January.

"If the state would pay their bills, then we could too," Donnellan said, adding the state is about $865,000 behind in payments District 114 this fiscal year.

The district will also charge residents $1,650 for prekindergarten classes in 2010-11, he said. The district will no longer apply for a grant that had allowed it to offer preschool classes for free. Donnellan said the state still owes for the last grant the district received for the program.

"Bottom line, the state just isn't paying their bills," he said. "If they pay us what they owe us, we could easily stay on a financial plan. But, we couldn't plan for a $1.4 million cut from the state."

The district is also limiting the amount of money being spent on technology and curriculum upgrades next school year. He said the technology program was cut from $140,000 to $70,000, and the curriculum program cut from $80,000 to $40,000.

"We had hoped to create a new computer lab at Stanton School, but we had to cut it," Donnellan said. "Instead of upgrading textbooks like we try to do every year, we'll just resupply the textbooks we currently have."

School board officials approved the cuts during a board meeting March 16.

Donnellan said, should the state take action and send more money to schools, the district may be able to rehire the teachers and reinstate the cut programs.

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