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D-424 cuts 14 teachers, freshman sports teams

Published: Friday, March 22, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENOA – Genoa-Kingston District 424 leaders hope to save more than $600,000 next academic year by cutting freshman sports, 14 teaching jobs and dozens of support personnel.

School board members voted, 6-0, Tuesday to cut the positions, to eliminate fitness center open hours, and to control the number of copies made on district copy machines. They also plan to transfer two employees to principal spots and a lay off a district office assistant.

The positions cut involve the areas of music, reading, bilingual education, English Language Learners education, instructional technology, science, math, art and counseling.

The cut employees could be invited back if the budget allows, as leaders continue to discuss the fiscal year that begins July 1, Superintendent Joe Burgess said. But state funding is expected to drop.

“We try to be optimistic,” Burgess said. “There’s obviously no commitment at this point.”

The district projected their $20 million budget would run a $1 million deficit with only $6 million in the education fund reserves July 1, Burgess said. He pointed to the expected reduction in state funding, which is affecting other school districts, too.

“It’s unfortunate we’re all in that boat with funding in our state,” Burgess said.

Dale Pelley, president of the District 424 Board of Education, said the decision was difficult, but necessary in light of the projected deficit.

Pelley said the board doesn’t intend to completely cut the art and music programs in the district, although it has cut all but two teachers’ positions in those areas. The two that remain are at the high school level.

“It is our intention to continue the program,” he said. “We’ll have to see what time brings.”

Pelley said leaders want to save money while minimizing the effect on students.

“We’re always, for five years now, looking everywhere we can to reduce without having an impact on our students,” he said.

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