Kaneland, state officials discuss financial woes
KANELANDâ€”A meeting with State Representative Kay Hatcher (Dist. 50) on Monday confirmed what Kaneland School District officials already knewâ€”school funding from the state will be severely cut.
â€œThe legislators used the word ‘insolvent’ to describe the state’s financial situation,â€ Kaneland School Board president Lisa Wiet said. â€œThey said, ‘There are no miracles. There is no money.’â€
School Board member Diane Piazza said that the state’s deficit equals 40 percent of its budget, which will have a huge impact on schools and other recipients of state funding.
â€œUnfortunately, it simply reinforced that our Phase Two plan is not only practical, but needed,â€ District Superintendent Charlie McCormick said. â€œIt continues to look like a realistic plan.â€
Hatcher and State Rep. Roger Eddy, who is also a part-time superintendent of a small rural school district, met with school district superintendents, board members and other school officials within Hatcher’s district to make sure that districts were not ignoring the reality of the situation.
â€œShe (Hatcher) said, ‘You need to plan for a loss in state revenue,’â€ Wiet said.
Hatcher confirmed that there is the potential of up to a $2.2 million shortfall from the state for the Kaneland School District, Wiet said.
â€œThey are aware of the difficulty it puts us in, but they didn’t do anything to suggest a solution to that,â€ Wiet said.
Associate Superintendent Jeff Schuler said that Hatcher and Eddy do not expect anything to change prior to the elections in November. Their recommendations for school districts included borrowing money, cutting expenses, and doing whatever necessary to prepare for the shortfall in funding.
Kaneland administrators have begun working on what they are calling Phase Two of the cuts to address the shortfall in funding from the state. While they are analyzing staffing needs in various areas of the district, they will move forward to release 110 first-, second-, third- and fourth-year teachers to provide them with the flexibility they will need.
The Phase Two reduction has to be finalized by May 24, he said. That gives the School District 45 days prior to the end of the school year to notify teachers.
Schuler said that, ultimately, approximately 30 teachers will lose their jobs. The administration will be able to call back the remaining teachers once they understand the impact of the state’s shortfall, which he said could take them into the summer.