District takes 1st step to cut 112 teachers

By on February 26, 2010

State funding shortfall requires flexibility, district says
by Susan O’Neill
Kaneland—More than 100 teachers will receive pink slips next month, but not all will lose their jobs.

The School Board on Monday directed the administration to prepare a resolution to lay off first-, second- and third-year teachers, as well as all part-timers, for a total of 112 teachers. According to Associate Superintendent Jeff Schuler, this move was necessary to give the district the flexibility it needs to respond to a financial shortfall from the state.

District officials learned two weeks ago that funding from the state will likely be drastically reduced for the school year 2010-11 by a range of $800,000 to $2.2 million. While Schuler said that the $2.2 million figure is unlikely, he said the district needs to plan for the worst-case scenario.

Using Schuler’s formula, which calculates the cost of each teacher at $50,000 (salary plus benefits), the actual number of teachers that would need to be let go to match the maximum potential shortfall from the state would be closer to 50. However, Schuler said the cuts in positions that he is recommending are not driven by how much money will need to be saved.

“It’s a matter of flexibility,” he said.

Schuler explained that in order to make the cuts necessary to balance the budget given the reduction in funding from the state, the district needs the flexibility of being able to evaluate all of the positions included in the first to the third year.

The district must release any staff 45 days prior to the end of the school year, Schuler said. Given that the district is not likely to have any definitive answer from the state on funding to the schools possibly by mid-summer; this means that the board must approve the release of the 112 teachers at its March 22 meeting.

The board will vote on the resolution for the reduction in force on March 22.