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updated: 3/21/2011 11:54 PM

Dist. 89 faces $1 million budget hole

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Glen Ellyn Elementary School District 89 will cut some personnel and programs to help fill a projected $1 million hole in next year's budget.

On Monday, the seven-member school board unanimously approved the reductions that total about $670,000.

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When new spending and revenue is taken into account, the net total is $576,000, which still is short of completely filling the gap. District reserves will have to make up the rest.

"We've striven to make the best recommendations without impacting the classroom," Superintendent John Perdue said. "But undoubtedly, these do begin to touch the classroom. It's hard to come up with reductions that don't."

The cuts include elimination of secretarial positions throughout district schools, resource aides at Glen Crest Middle School and a technology aide.

Staff professional development services will be cut, though Perdue said that program only was expected to last three years and already was extended by an extra year. Pay for substitute teachers and nursing services also will be reduced.

MAP testing for kindergarten and first grade students at the district's four elementary schools will be eliminated, along with MAP science testing at Glen Crest Middle School.

The remaining $18,000 in district funds allotted for field trips will be eliminated. Perdue said that doesn't mean field trips are being eliminated, but it's likely families would have to pick up transportation costs. District officials are now talking with parent-teacher councils about such a proposal.

New fees will be added, including a technology fee in all schools and a student ID fee at Glen Crest. Fees for milk, YMCA rental and participation in extracurricular activities would increase. In total, new revenue is expected to be $32,750.

Perdue said this will be the third consecutive year of deficit spending in the district. In that time, the district has made a total of $1.7 million in reductions.

"I think these (cuts) would bring District 89 to very basic level of educational service -- in some areas, maybe less than basic," Perdue said. "I don't know of any other low-hanging fruit or easy-to-achieve reductions. I think we've accomplished all those in the last three years."

Board President Lori Gaspar said board members will likely be in the same situation next year -- and considering deeper cuts.

As soon as next month, board members could start discussions on the possibility of asking voters for a district tax-rate increase, which last happened in 1986. The earliest such a question could go on the ballot is March of 2012.

"The only way our district gets revenue is from federal, state and local taxes," Gaspar said. "If we want to maintain the school district as it is, the local taxpayer has to pick up the burden."

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