Tri States Public Radio Staff
Tue March 9, 2010
Galesburg School Board Cuts 78 Employees
Galesburg, IL – The Galesburg School Board has agreed to lay off 77 teachers and support staff, and one administrator in the face of a potential $3.3 million shortfall. The majority of the layoffs were due to the uncertainty of future grant funding. The others were due to uncertain future enrollment figures.
However, many of these positions could be reinstated should the grant programs be funded, or should the district find ways to overcome those deficits. The district presented its Operation Program/Job Save program on Monday, which outlines the district's money-saving ideas.
But Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Guy Cahill says the future of that plan hinges on budget negotiations in Springfield.
"Our plan right now is to put forward a plan given the worst case scenario from Springfield," says Cahill.
Cahill hopes to present the plan to the school board for final approval in April. Should the board approve it, most of the employees will be re-hired.
The plan also includes renegotiation of union contracts and unpaid furlough days among other things.
The board also approved a significant change to the district calendar in an effort to reduce the number of school days during the winter. The idea would be to reduce heating costs by shutting off the boiler for more days during the winter. An earlier spring break will allow the district to shut the boiler off for the season earlier in the year.
Under the new calendar, students will start a week earlier in August and end a week earlier in June. They'll take final exams before winter break, instead of after, and will remain out of school until after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Spring Break will begin in the third week of March instead of the second week in April. The hybrid calendar will not add any additional days to the school year.
"It is truly different from what people have experience here in years past," says Guy Cahill. "But it's those very kind of cultural changes that we need to make in order to save programs and jobs, without having to ask for more from the taxpayers or increase fees beyond reason."
Cahill says the calendar change could save the district roughly $75,000 a year.