Dunlap school district faces $1.5 million budget deficit

By Katherine Tellez

December 18, 2013 Updated Dec 19, 2013 at 11:34 AM CDT

DUNLAP, Ill. -- The Dunlap School District announced Wednesday night that it faces a major deficit that is only expected to get worse.

Superintendent Dr. Jay Marino said for the 2013/2014 budget year, the deficit sits at $1.5 million. That deficit is expected to increase to more than $2 million in the coming years.

Parents are upset they heard about this from other parents and not from the district.

Marino said 90 percent of the district's revenue comes from property taxes, and that revenue stream is on the decline.

According to Marino, student enrollment continues to rise which means the district has to spend more money on teachers, books and classroom space.

To cover this year's deficit the district has already made $750,000 in cuts. The other $750,000 is coming from the reserve fund.

But they can not continue to use reserve money. To handle the $2.1 million deficit projected for fiscal year 2015, Marino said parents could see fee increases on things like lunches and parking.

Some of the cuts discussed include more than a million dollars in staff reductions.

Parents we spoke with are now concerned about their children's education and said the district should have seen this coming.

"A decrease in the quality of education my kids are going to be getting in the next few years is very concerning to me as a parent," said Leah Crosman.

Many of the parents said they moved to Dunlap specifically for the school district.

"We have two boys and we are very concerned about their education. If the programs aren't going to be there, if the education suffers, we have no choice but to move elsewhere," said Kris McClelland.

During the meeting, parents asked the school board not to cut programs like music and art.

Many of them said they are willing to pay more money in property tax and activity fees if it will lessen the impact these cuts will have on the students.

Marino stressed that these proposed cuts are just a discussion right now. No final decisions have been made.