Schaumburg Township Elementary School District 54 could cut as many as 78 teaching and support staff positions next year as part of a staffing plan school board members will consider March 15.
Most of the proposed cuts are due to a decline in projected enrollment next year, though some are based on the uncertain renewal of a state grant for the district's early childhood program.
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Teachers and support staff in the early childhood program could be recalled if the grant is renewed, District 54 spokeswoman Terri McHugh said.
Though declining enrollment has been a consistent factor in staff reductions the past few years, this year could see an unusually large number of employees losing their jobs.
In past years, retirements have helped take some of the sting out of the elimination of positions, McHugh said. This year, however, only 13 teachers across the district's 27 schools are planning to retire this June, while the average in the last few years has been about 75.
Projected enrollment next year is 13,267, a drop of 1.1 percent from today's 13,409 students. Based on this, administrators are recommending the elimination of 10 elementary and three junior high teaching positions, which would leave the average class size at 22.4 students.
Because of a decline in the number of special education students, 10 special education teachers and 10 instructional assistants also are eliminated in the proposed plan.
While administrators are recommending the continuation of its bilingual program teaching English to nonnative speakers, a slight increase in the student-teacher ratio to 25-to-1 is proposed. This would result in the elimination of five bilingual resource positions.
The number of employees in the early childhood program affected by the potential loss of grant funding is 16 teachers and 24 support staff.
While teachers and other staff can be added back at any time, state law requires that any school district employees who may lose their jobs at the end of a given school year be notified by late March.