Dunlap teachers address budget deficit concerns to school board

By Beau Ebenezer

January 15, 2014 Updated Jan 15, 2014 at 11:34 PM CDT

DUNLAP, Ill. -- The Dunlap School Board held a public forum on deficit reduction Wednesday night.

Concerned teachers, parents, and students filled the auditorium to comment on the District's $2.1 million projected deficit.

A proposal to reduce that number includes more than $1.8 million in program cuts and staff reductions.

$186,000 would be generated through student fee increases.

Many in the crowd said there was no warning that the district was this deep in financial trouble.

"It's a function of kids keep coming and our expenses continue to increase, said Dunlap Superintendent, Dr. Jay Marino. "Our revenue has basically bottomed out to less than 1% new money this year compared to last year."

Marino added that the cuts will be district wide.

Cuts could include the elimination of five bus routes, consolidation of gym classes, and fewer elective courses for high school students.

It is those eliminations that the teacher's union is worried about.

They said getting rid of programs reduces the quality of education their students receive.

"You can measure how much it costs and what the financial benefit would be to eliminate programs," said Dunlap Education Association Co-President, John Allison. "The loss the students will experience, you can't measure."

The Dunlap Education Association is also upset over proposed staff reductions of 19 full-time teachers.

Marino said those layoffs could be announced as early as mid March.