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Sycamore School District 427 board hears plan for personnel reductions

SYCAMORE – Sycamore School District 427 could be eliminating about 35 positions next school year under a proposal district officials are considering to reach a balanced budget by the end of the 2017-18 school year.

The District 427 board heard about the proposal Tuesday as part of the district’s three-year budget reduction plan.

The personnel reductions are part of the district’s strategy to reduce the budget by $2.3 million in fiscal 2018.

The reductions would eliminate roughly 17 teaching positions, including five full-time high school teachers, four reading teachers, three special education teachers, 3.2 teachers in library, physical education, technology or art, and 1.6 teachers of elective classes.

The plan would also eliminate 0.6 social worker positions, 0.6 school counselor positions and one school nurse.

From the support staff, five special education assistants would be eliminated along with three other classroom assistants, one math interventionist, five reading interventionists, one part-time reading interventionist and one clerical position.

Superintendent Kathy Countryman said that the number of people eliminated would not be the same as the number of positions cut when staff retirements are taken into account.

If the board approves the staff reductions during its Feb. 28 meeting, the district would take final action on certified staff positions March 14 and the educational support staff positions in April.

Last year, the district dismissed 18 employees, including 12 full-time teachers. This was after laying off four full-time employees and three part-time employees and reducing four positions in 2015.

Chief Financial Officer Nicole Stuckert said budget updates would be brought to the board in May, with a proposed budget in June and the final budget in August.

Stuckert said the district has not received all four of its categorical payments from the state in the past few years, and it is expected to receive only two of them this year.

“If we don’t get that payment every quarter, it’s hard for us to be able to pay bills on time,” she said.

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