Personnel cuts unavoidable for Reed-C...

Personnel cuts unavoidable for Reed-Custer

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“The blessings of liberty”

Since: Oct 09

Location hidden

#1 Nov 2, 2009
Marney Simon
Staff writer

The Reed-Custer School Board has now ratified a contract with the teachers union. But some major changes remain in the works, which will ultimately end with some educators losing their positions.

"I just want to say thanks to those in the union that participated in the process to ratify this contract," Superintendent David Requa said at the Oct. 21 regular meeting of the School Board. "It's hard on everybody, we know, and the board appreciates the sacrifices."

Requa said the district is facing financial difficulties, and needs to take a closer look at eliminating spending, including salaries and benefits of employees, which accounts for as much as 80 percent of the district's spending.

As part of the one-year contract, salaries for teachers were frozen for one year, with exceptions for teachers, administrators and non-union employees who had contract guarantees in place. Bus drivers also took a pay reduction as part of the agreement..

The salary freeze takes the board through the school year in funding, but is only the first step in drastically reducing costs for the struggling district, which already made major changes to cut costs. The most notable change coming into the current school year was a change from a block schedule to a traditional bell schedule at Reed-Custer High School. While that change saved the district an estimated $380,000 this year, it's not enough. Even with the savings, at current levels of expenditures, the district is expected to be in a deficit by next school year.

According to Requa, with 31 percent of the school year already complete, the district has gone through about 24 percent of its funding. While that's a good thing for now, it certainly does not mean the district will end the year in the black. Requa told the board that while most of the district spending was square with the budget for this year, there are still issues to consider. Bringing the budget into balance must be a focus now, he said, and the board would have to make decisions on cut backs starting in the spring in order to be ready for the upcoming school year.

“The blessings of liberty”

Since: Oct 09

Location hidden

#2 Nov 2, 2009
This was from the Braidwood journal Tuesday, Oct. 27,2009
Old Guy

Schaumburg, IL

#3 Nov 2, 2009
What are some thoughts on where the cuts should be? My age might be showing now but back in the day, the superintendent's job in schools our size was leader of the school, business manager, and curriculum director. Now we have a special person for each area. I know the demands are higher now than 20-30 years ago and we did not have No Child Left Behind hanging over us. But in the very least I would think a superintendent should be the financial and business man in the district if nothing else.
RCdad1

United States

#4 Nov 2, 2009
Old Guy wrote:
What are some thoughts on where the cuts should be? My age might be showing now but back in the day, the superintendent's job in schools our size was leader of the school, business manager, and curriculum director. Now we have a special person for each area. I know the demands are higher now than 20-30 years ago and we did not have No Child Left Behind hanging over us. But in the very least I would think a superintendent should be the financial and business man in the district if nothing else.
You are right on the money. The cuts should come from the building right between the High School and Middle School.Director of operation what the hell is that? We have way to many people in that building and if we cut that's were it should start.They don't teach our kids they just take the money!!!!!!!!!!
Braidwood

United States

#5 Nov 3, 2009
According to the article, 80% of the cost somes from benefits. I say they need to pay more for their health care, just like everyone else in this district. How do we find out what the health benefit package is for the employees?
Old Guy wrote:
What are some thoughts on where the cuts should be? My age might be showing now but back in the day, the superintendent's job in schools our size was leader of the school, business manager, and curriculum director. Now we have a special person for each area. I know the demands are higher now than 20-30 years ago and we did not have No Child Left Behind hanging over us. But in the very least I would think a superintendent should be the financial and business man in the district if nothing else.
Parent

United States

#6 Nov 3, 2009
Braidwood wrote:
According to the article, 80% of the cost somes from benefits. I say they need to pay more for their health care, just like everyone else in this district. How do we find out what the health benefit package is for the employees?<quoted text>
I think 80% of the cost is benfits and salary?
Not sure how to find out what their package is? Some are only working part-time for just the benfits!
Braidwood

United States

#7 Nov 3, 2009
Thank you for the correction-I left out the salary part. Joliet employees weren't paying anything for their health care, which is why I am wondering about our district employees.
Parent wrote:
<quoted text>
I think 80% of the cost is benfits and salary?
Not sure how to find out what their package is? Some are only working part-time for just the benfits!
max

Reddick, IL

#8 Nov 3, 2009
For you info we do pay for our health care. I pay almost $200.00 a month for health and dental, we no longer get vision when we switched to bluscross/blueshield. And i don't think part-time employees get the insurance.
Parent

United States

#9 Nov 3, 2009
max wrote:
For you info we do pay for our health care. I pay almost $200.00 a month for health and dental, we no longer get vision when we switched to bluscross/blueshield. And i don't think part-time employees get the insurance.
That is cheaper than what I would pay a month without dental and that's on a 36 thousand a year salary!!!!! My insurance plan would cost $240. a month and that is with a $20.00 co-pay and a $10.00 medicine card and paying 80% for hospitalization a year! So therefore I can't afford the benefits!
I think the school needs to make some cuts to fit into the living of the community in which is paying the bill. There are a lot 36 thousand salary and lower around here. Are average salary is low from what I remember. And weather the teacher like it or not we tax payers ARE helping in paying their salary.
So what I'm trying to say is, we don't house enough kids for the administrators to have so many bodies there collecting a salary! If we cut a lot of needless fat at the top then that could free up a lot of money needed to help with the children's needs, where the parents aren't having to pay so much in fees etc.!! And if we close the RCPS school and move it all to one building then we could free up a lot of unneeded cost!!
coal city three

Joliet, IL

#10 Nov 3, 2009
Tis very interesting that through all of this we have not heard from Imput, even to defend his very favorite administrator. Could it be that Imput moved north to pretent to be a superintendent in another community?
Agreed

AOL

#11 Nov 3, 2009
I agree that cuts should come from the administration building instead of our teachers. I don't want to say that their jobs aren't important but maybe another person can take on another job & paying them a buck or two more an hour for taking on additional work is still cheaper than the salary the other person was getting. Do you like my run on sentence? I already noticed it, no need for anyone to point it out lol.

“The blessings of liberty”

Since: Oct 09

Location hidden

#12 Nov 4, 2009
coal city three wrote:
Tis very interesting that through all of this we have not heard from Imput, even to defend his very favorite administrator. Could it be that Imput moved north to pretent to be a superintendent in another community?
I had input peg as Dr. K. LOL but I like your thinking.

“The blessings of liberty”

Since: Oct 09

Location hidden

#13 Nov 4, 2009
Agreed wrote:
I agree that cuts should come from the administration building instead of our teachers. I don't want to say that their jobs aren't important but maybe another person can take on another job & paying them a buck or two more an hour for taking on additional work is still cheaper than the salary the other person was getting. Do you like my run on sentence? I already noticed it, no need for anyone to point it out lol.
Nobody should point fingers about grammar; it’s irrelevant to the discussion.

And yes the sad administrator who is making all these tough decisions to cut the bus drivers pay and freeze the teachers pay should have started with the front office. Unfortunately cutting administrators won’t be enough, but that’s where he should have started. And I know many of you don’t agree, but I still say close the Custer Park building. They have already looked the intermediate school; they know it can be done. Moving the second graders alone over accomplished nothing, it just added another salary to the payroll, because the principal couldn’t handle the extra kids……. So they hired an assistant.

We’ll see soon enough if Mr. Requa has the guts to do what needs to be done.
Jane

United States

#14 Nov 4, 2009
In my opinion, and this is speaking as someone who was a student ages ago and not someone who works in schools -- why in the world does a school need a principal and an assistant principal? I know the asst. has specific duties. But his main one is attendance. Is there not a way that the principal can deal with attendance? Why are there three secretaries in the high school office? We always had one. And it seems like everyone in the ad office has a secretary.
Jane

United States

#15 Nov 4, 2009
Also, does anyone else think the old superintendent was a total slime for seeking a new job right when the finances here were going down the tube? He had no problem here when the money was rolling in. But once the word "deficit" popped up, he started pimping out his resumes. That irks me.
Parent

United States

#16 Nov 4, 2009
Jane wrote:
Also, does anyone else think the old superintendent was a total slime for seeking a new job right when the finances here were going down the tube? He had no problem here when the money was rolling in. But once the word "deficit" popped up, he started pimping out his resumes. That irks me.
Tottally agree with you Jane. He help get us in this mess then he leaves. After hiring all this extra help!

I also agree with closing the custer park building but then what will the princible do then, she culdn't handle 100 second graders what will she do with 200 more kids?
Agreed

AOL

#17 Nov 4, 2009
Is there enough room in the Intermediate School for all the kids at Custer? How much can really be saved by closing a building? Wont the teachers just follow over so the salary is still there.

“The blessings of liberty”

Since: Oct 09

Location hidden

#18 Nov 4, 2009
Agreed wrote:
Is there enough room in the Intermediate School for all the kids at Custer? How much can really be saved by closing a building? Wont the teachers just follow over so the salary is still there.
It could be done. There is a lot of wasted space in RCIS. There is approximately 11 empty rooms, lunch however may prove challenging.

The cost saved would be in janitors, bus drivers, gas, lunch ladies, teachers’ aides, and perhaps some teachers.

“The blessings of liberty”

Since: Oct 09

Location hidden

#19 Nov 4, 2009
"If we can make some decisions ahead of time [we'll] be pretty sure when we're giving [notices] out that we'll have to reduce those positions," Requa said. "So my suggestion is that we start the process of seeking input dealing with various groups."

The superintendent wants to set up a series of community meetings, where the board can gather information from the teacher's union, administrators and members of the public in order to fully establish the needs of the community before making decisions on what positions to eliminate.

Requa wants to hold the meetings over the next few months, so the board can hold discussions on the opinions and facts gathered during their December and January meetings. From there, the goal is to work on the plans solidly in February, then be able to make some formal decisions on cutting personnel in March.

"It will be a difficult process," Requa said. "It will be a tough time, but we're going to do it with as many people giving us input as we can. You cannot make these cuts without letting people go."

Requa noted that the district has to reduce costs, and it will likely be by restructuring departments and/or eliminating positions all together. The likely scenario would be that a higher position might be eliminated, then teachers would be bumped back within their departments, ultimately meaning that the newest teachers with the lowest salaries will be the ones to lose their jobs.

"We need to decide what we can keep, and what we can afford to keep," Requa said.

Board members agreed that discussing the cuts in an open forum is the best way to go.

"If we have it up front, it won't make it any easier," said Board President Larry Blackburn. "But in the long run, people will be heard."

The board is expected to announce the dates for the community meetings over the next few weeks.

“The blessings of liberty”

Since: Oct 09

Location hidden

#20 Nov 4, 2009
Above is the rest of the article. It may be good to follow this story. They say that there will be open forum meetings to decide who and what gets cut.

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