Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

January 4, 2013

Unit 50 eyes budget cuts

TEUTOPOLIS —     More than 150 people attended Thursday’s special meeting of the Teutopolis Unit 50 Board of Education in the Teutopolis Grade School gymnasium.

    About a quarter of that crowd had something to say.

    A number of people in the crowd had helpful hints for board members and administrators on the best ways to deal with a projected budget deficit for more than $1 million.

    The board had called the meeting to solicit public input on how to deal with the deficit. And, public input they received after a presentation by Superintendent Bill Fritcher in which he detailed projected cuts totaling nearly $620,000.

    While most of the cuts would come from not replacing retiring or resigning teachers, Fritcher said extra-curricular activities would also take a hit if the proposals are adopted.

    On the chopping block would be the high school’s FFA program, as well as marching and pep band, drama and newspaper programs.

    On the sports side, the board is considering staff cuts to high school and junior high baseball, and junior high basketball, primarily on the lower levels of competition. He said the staff cuts might force the remaining coaches to start cutting players on the junior high level, something the district’s hasn’t previously done.

    Also proposed are miscellaneous expenses such as cell phones for administrators and bus drivers, overnight conferences for staff and student field trips.

    Fritcher said a complete list of proposed cuts would be available soon on the district’s website.

    The superintendent added that not replacing retiring teachers, particularly on the grade school level, could bump class sizes to the high 20s, or even low 30s. That was a hot topic during public comments that lasted more than an hour Thursday.

    One woman in the audience said increasing class sizes would be “devastating” to the quality of education in the school district.

    “In other school districts, people look at T-town as leaders in education,” she said. “Increasing class sizes is ridiculous.”

    Another woman said proposed class sizes in the high 20s for first- and second-grade classes is “completely heartbreaking.”

    “I am shocked that we are looking at those kind of numbers in first- and second-grade classes,” she said. “It’s completely heartbreaking that we are looking in that direction.”

    Other speakers questioned the need for what is perceived by many as a full-time athletic director, though Unit 50 AD Andy Johnson doubles as assistant principal at the high school.

    “Is there any way we can have him (Johnson) teach some driver’s ed classes?” one speaker asked.

    Fritcher noted that the district has added a number of sports in recent years. Moreover, he said, Teutopolis tries to host a large number of sporting events, thus increasing the workload for an athletic director.

    “We try to host as many events as we can, so parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and fans don’t have to drive all the time to see our kids play,” he said. “But that’s more work for us.”

    One man suggested increasing activity fees instead of increasing class sizes.

    “We (parents) can start picking up slack on our end,” he said.

    Another speaker suggested reducing the number of athletic contests being played each season, while another suggested utilizing the services of volunteer coaches from the community.

    One speaker suggested that whatever cuts are made be deep enough to sustain the district for several years.

    “I am suggesting going deeper in cuts, so we don’t have the repeat this,” the man said. “What will keep us from repeating this two or four years down the road.”

    Board president Marty Siemer told the crowd after the comment session that the board would make a final decision on cuts in late February or March. Siemer said after the meeting that he was impressed with the turnout and the level of input from the crowd.

    “This will be very useful,” Siemer said. “It’s great to have input from the community that cares about their kids and the education they are getting.”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • McCarter.jpg Some lawmakers donate pay

    Illinois lawmakers restoring their pay after years of furlough days has prompted some state representatives to give back to their communities — a move some local lawmakers call a political one.

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Distance learning catching on in area

    In what appears to be a growing trend among rural school districts, a third area school district may join an existing academic cooperative.

    July 27, 2014

  • Joshua Robison.jpg Opinion: God doesn't care about party affiliation

    Reflecting on what we politely refer to in this country as “political discourse,” I am often struck by how convinced many people seem to be that their sides' specific policies and personalities are the only way to save us all from utter ruin.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ron W.jpg Opinion: Column break just that -- a break

    ‘Hey, Ron. You didn’t have a column this week. What’s the deal? It’s the reason I buy a paper on Thursdays.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Isom.jpg Opinion: It's about time

    Finally, someone else speaks up and it’s about time.
    I applaud Ron Worman and welcome him to take a seat on my bandwagon. His addressing the proliferation of signs of every description, virtually everywhere one looks, is a welcome additional voice — even though rare.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Feds: Effingham County was meeting place for underage sex tryst

    An Ohio man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he traveled out of state to meet an underage person in Effingham County for sexual activity.

    July 25, 2014

  • Jail inmate attempts suicide

    An unscheduled cell check is credited for saving the life of an Effingham County Jail inmate who tried to hang himself early Thursday morning.

    July 25, 2014

  • Woman injured in Farina collision

    An accident on Washington Street sent one driver to the hospital Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Driver crashes after being forced off road

    A driver crashed after being run off the road by a semi on Interstate 70.

    July 25, 2014

  • Rollover on I-70 sends one to hospital

    An accident on Interstate-70 sent one traveler to the hospital.

    July 25, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.