by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Kaneland School Board discussions regarding the district’s budget reduction plan for the 2012 fiscal year have typically been about financial projections and cost centers since the plan went into motion last December.
The board’s focus, however, was solely on the human side of the budget reduction implications during the School Board meeting on Monday evening.
Budget cuts that will eliminate two of the four LRC director positions at the elementary level were a sore point for both School Board member Teresa Witt and the public in attendance during the meeting. The budget reduction plan calls for the remaining LRC director positions to each split time between two of the district’s four elementary school buildings.
Superintendent Jeff Schuler said the LRC directors that lose their current position could be assigned to a classroom or literary position.
“Several of the LRC directors also have a classroom teaching certificate and are certainly qualified to teach several different positions,” he said.
Witt said she was a little disturbed by the LRC director position cuts.
“If administrators got together and actually chose (LRC Directors) as a cut, it seems to me that we must be under-utilizing valuable professionals because there’s so much potential (there),” she said. “And then to be saying, ‘Well, you know, we might take up some of the slack with technology instructors and things like that,’ seems backwards to me because librarians are actually qualified-they have experience in technology, whereas technologists don’t have experience in library.”
The LRC director position cuts will render $60,000 of the $1 million in expenditures targeted for reduction by the district.
Board President Cheryl Krauspe was sympathetic with Witt’s position on the cuts, but also noted that the LRCs will continue to function in spite of the reductions.
“(The) services of the LRC directors will be consolidated and delivered in a different way because of this reduction, (but) we are not eliminating the service. We value the library service and the instructional support provided,” she said. “It’s not a popular reduction, but this amount of loss in a district is going be felt on some level by all. And these current directors aren’t going to lost their jobs.”
Krauspe emphasized the intent to cut expenditures while attempting to keep student programs unscathed.
“We did the best that we could carefully do to maintain class size and program opportunities in the district, minimizing negative impact in the quality of direct service to students,” she said.
“I think (the staff cuts) might be hard to recover from at some point,” Witt said. “And just with the attention we’re placing on rigor, it seems like maybe our priorities aren’t there.”
The district’s budget reduction plan will be finalized at the school board meeting on Monday, March 14.