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updated: 6/22/2011 5:40 PM

District 47 recalls some paraprofessionals

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More than half of the educational support personnel who were laid off last month in Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 will return to the classroom this fall.

The school board on Monday unanimously approved the recall of 22 paraprofessionals, adding to the 11 recalled at an earlier meeting in June.

Superintendent Donn Mendoza said the 45 layoffs approved in May were to help the district meet its goal of balancing the budget before the 2012-2013 school year.

The layoffs were approved with the understanding that the district would not reduce paraprofessionals by more than 20 over a two-year period, Mendoza said.

"Over the two-year period we are looking at saving about $345,000," Mendoza said.

Chief Financial Officer Susan Harkin said the recalls were made possible through attrition, with about 50 people retiring in the last two school years. Those positions will not be replaced, Harkin said.

"Depending on resignations and retirements, we could still have a few left to recall," Harkin said. "But no matter what, we will go down by 13 paraprofessionals by the 2012-2013 fiscal year."

In May, the district approved a reduction in force of 45 newly-hired or first-year paraprofessionals.

Many of those recalled in the past month are bilingual, school board President Jeff Mason said.

"It helps us make sure that we are serving the bilingual community by having them back," Mason said.

Those recalled will return to a position similar to the one they held before the layoff notices, Harkin said. There are currently 640 teachers and 245 paraprofessionals in the 12-school district.

The district's current deficit is about $1 million, Harkin said. Much of the budget gap is due to a decrease in state funding. The district has lost about $6 million in state revenue in the last two years and expects a $2 million reduction next year.