Grayslake Elementary District 46 board members heard a presentation Wednesday on proposed job cuts and other measures designed to reduce what's expected to be a growing budget deficit.
Superintendent Ellen Correll labeled as "daunting" a $2.2 million hole projected for the 2013-14 academic year. She said District 46 administrators have met to address ideas on how to shrink the budget deficit by an estimated $1.8 million.
"None of these are areas where we are overstaffed," Correll told the school board. "We are not getting rid of fluff for the district."
Under the preliminary plan, average class sizes would go up. Correll said average class sizes would be 25 students in kindergarten through second grade and go up to 30 pupils in grades 3 through 8.
Correll said increased class sizes would lead to dismissal of about 15 teachers at a savings of $725,000. She said the cuts would be decided through evaluation ratings and districtwide seniority.
In addition, said Correll, about $100,000 could be saved by eliminating two social workers. The district could be able to save $200,000 more by reducing special education caseloads at five schools.
Other possible moves to reduce the budget gap include a 10 percent cut in individual school budgets for supplies and elimination of $50,000 for the district's technology department. Correll said she's already helped the cause by returning $17,000 she had been allotted for her medical benefits.
Correll said administrators kept student needs at the forefront when they discussed the potential reductions.
Board President Ray Millington said it'll be important to enact reductions that are sustainable over several years. Board member Keith Surroz said it's preferable to do what's necessary to shrink the deficit than to say some programs were saved.
"We don't have any choice," Surroz said.
Teachers went on strike for three days over pay and benefits in January. Correll said she sent the staff an email stating a presentation about the proposed cuts would be made to the school board.
In December, a board majority voted to reject a requested 4.5 percent increase in this year's tax levy. Officials turned away $750,000 that likely would have been received if the tax levy hike had been approved.
However, board members said they needed to reduce the tax hit on property owners. Officials said an owner of a typical $200,000 home can expect to pay $90 more to the district in 2013, rather than $400-plus if the higher levy had been approved by the board. Board members in September adopted a $49.1 million budget for 2012-13 academic year. The deficit at that time was projected at $1.2 million.
District 46 serves parts of Grayslake, Third Lake, Hainesville, Round Lake, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach and Lake Villa.