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District 186 Hires New Superintendent, Faces Budget Shortfall
Another round of budget cuts is on the way for District 186. Interim Superintendent Dr. Robert Hill presented budget projections to the school board Tuesday night of a $4.7 million deficit for the 2015 fiscal year. He also pointed out a shrinking fund balance, or the district's bank account.
"The more cuts you ask us to make, the harder it will be to keep them away from classroom operations," Hill told the school board.
The projections outlined keep spending flat, with the exception of personnel costs, which are the largest chunk of the district's budget.
"I think we're going to have to be creative," board member Mike Zimmers said. "I think we're going to have to start looking at programs, do audits. I would like to publicly state now I do want a balanced budget, but I'm not going to vote for doing that on the backs of teachers."
Any cuts come as a concern for Jessica Thannen, whose daughter's school was on the chopping block last year but was saved.
"My biggest concern is that more big programs are going to be eliminated," she said.
The budget talks come the same night the school board approved a three-year contract for its new superintendent, Jennifer Gill. She'll start May 1, 2014 and be paid $195,000 a year.
Gill will inherit budget woes, and says the district will need to be prudent with spending.
"Going through the budget line by line and try to prioritize our needs and squeezing the most of the budget we have, so living within our means," Gill said.
The District 186 alum faces a slew of other issues in the district, including improving student test scores, recruiting minority teachers and staff, and gaining the public's trust in the district.
If you'd like to hear more on Gill's plans for the district, you can listen to our entire interview with her by going to our raw news section.