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updated: 3/18/2011 4:19 PM

District 33 lays off 20 teachers

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The state's budget crisis hit home again this week in West Chicago Elementary District 33 when the school board voted to lay off 20 teachers.

Some of the teachers -- all with one to four years in the district -- are likely to be rehired once the district knows how many students are registered for next year and if the funding situation improves, but the district is required to give them notice now.

Other cutbacks for next year include a secretarial position, an administrator and reductions in the technology and textbook budgets. Preschool programs will be limited to students in special education, unless more money becomes available.

In previous years, District 33 offered preschool services for children considered at risk due to economic or other factors.

Overall, District 33 needs to cut $1.2 million from its budget due to the shortfall in state funding, Superintendent Ed Leman said. A $2 million deficit was projected, but the district made other reductions and used fund balances to bridge some of the gap.

"Our fund balances have gotten eaten up very quickly due to the state's decision about not funding transportation and defaulting on some other payments this year," Leman said.

Of the 20 teachers whose jobs were cut, seven were specialists in art, music and school psychology who worked part time.

The cutbacks are not as drastic as last year, however, when District 33 laid off 90 people, including 35 teachers and other certificated staff members.

"There's not a whole lot farther we can go and still operate," Leman said.

Of those who were laid off last year, about 20 were eventually rehired, Lehman said.

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