District 300 cuts would hit parochial school families hard

Posted3/6/2010 12:01 AM

Last month, the Community Unit District 300 school board heard an earful from parents who oppose proposed cuts to transportation for the dual language program.

That display, in which dozens of parents essentially forced the board to relocate its meeting to another venue at the last minute, could be a preview of things to come.


District 300 announced this week that the administration will formally recommend almost $1.6 million in cuts to transportation on Monday. Among the proposed cuts:

• Eliminating buses for the Preschool for All program at Perry, Gilberts and Wright elementary schools, as well as the deLacey Family Education Center, for an estimated savings of $672,000;

• Eliminating special routes for students who attend parochial schools, for a savings of $285,000; Parochial students would have to get on and off the bus at stops that already exist for District 300 schools - or get a ride from parents;

• Eliminating transportation for the dual language program, for a savings of $111,000;

• Eliminating buses for the Elgin Community College partnership, for a $118,000 savings.

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The board has scheduled its Monday meeting for 7 p.m. at the Carpentersville Middle School auditorium, but even the larger venue may not be enough to contain parents and advocates of many of the programs on the chopping block.

The dual language parents have said they intend to continue showing up in force, while numerous parents from parochial schools are expected to join them.

Sue Snyder, principal of St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in Algonquin, said the proposed transportation reductions would affect 156 students at her school, forcing them to get a ride from parents or walk from Eastview Elementary School.

"We have families that are working and cannot drive their students," Snyder said. "(Eastview is) probably two-thirds of a mile, so I don't see that as a good solution for 5- or 6-year-old students."


Board President Joe Stevens said the board is sensitive to parents' concerns but that they need to suggest alternatives.

"Everybody is saying, 'We understand your dilemma, but please don't cut my program.'" Stevens said. "If we do that for everybody, nothing is going to get cut."

The board will also vote Monday on releasing 112 first- and second-year teachers for budgetary reasons. A vote on the transportation cuts is set for vote on April 26.


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