Libertyville school’s future safe … for now
The Libertyville Elementary School, the high school French program and a speech team coach seem to be off the school board’s proposed cuts following a work session Monday night.
The Fairfield Community School District Board of Directors are in the process of reducing its expenditures for the 2011-12 school year so the year ends with an unspent authorized budget balance closer to a 5 percent carry over rather than another negative balance.
Originally, the plan was to reduce expenditures by $800,000; then the board’s finance committee asked administrators to find another $300,000 worth of cuts. Those proposed cuts included closing Libertyville Elementary School, dropping the French program, reducing the number of speech team coaches from three to two, and many other suggestions for a total of $1,140,712.
Monday, the board members learned that a $900,000 cut would result in savings with about a 5 percent carry over for two years, and then, because of declining enrollment vs. spending, it would return to being a negative number.
Board member Doug Flournoy pointed out if the district cut $1 million, it would still end up with a negative number in fiscal year 2015.
“We shouldn’t let that guide the decision … the next two years are most important,” he said.
Flournoy said, “We can’t make cuts because we don’t know enough about the district — that’s why we have an administrator. If we tell him to find a way to save money without closing Libertyville, he’ll do it. We need to give him some guidance.”
He said the board needed to decide how much it wanted to cut.
Board president Gail Miller said she could agree to the $1 million cut, but she didn’t want to close the Libertyville school.
“We need to target $1 million … and not close Libertyville,” said board member Bob Waugh.
Board member Ralph Messerli said he thought $900,000 was reasonable.
Board members Margaret Dwyer and Jeri Kunkle both thought a $900,000 cut would be appropriate, and neither wanted to see Libertyville school closed.
Board member Jennifer Anderson said she thought the district needed an even deeper cut than $1 million.
“I’m not in favor of every single item, but I agree with the Libertyville closing,” she said. “I just really want to see us closer to that 5 percent for three years.”
Flournoy said he favored a $1 million cut. He said he doesn’t want to see Libertyville school closed, but “I’m not opposed to it … the alternative might be something with Libertyville still on the table.”
To sum it up, Flournoy said the board is now asking the administrators to target a $1.1 million cut without closing the Libertyville school.
for the complete article, see the Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, printed edition of The Fairfield Ledger.