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posted: 3/14/2012 12:01 AM

District 15's plan to avoid program assistant cuts falls through

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Of more than $6 million in proposed budget cuts presented last month by District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson, the community most strongly opposed reducing program assistant hours.

But it appears a plan to avert that has fallen through.

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Thompson said Tuesday that the executive board of the program assistants' union will not bring its members a proposal to reduce their scheduled salary increases from 4.35 to 1.5 percent, saving the district $200,000 and preventing the reduction of hours for about 100 assistants.

The reduction in salary hikes, coupled with expected savings on health care premiums, could avoid any program assistant cuts, Thompson said.

Now he's back to his original recommendation to convert about 100 full-time program assistants to part-time status, eliminating their benefits and saving about $1.25 million.

Union representatives didn't return calls Tuesday.

"These and the other cuts proposed are not done lightly," Thompson said, adding that he's "still hopeful that we are able to collectively find a solution to our financial issues that retains our excellent staff members and preserves the quality of education we deliver to District 15 children."

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