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Monday, October 20, 2014
School Budgets
Bucking the trend, programs get a boost in District 30

While many school districts are cutting programs and staff for next year, District 30 is doing the opposite. The Board of Education unanimously adopted its proposed $33.2 million budget on March 18, which adds several positions to support programs.

If the budget is passed, the district would hire an additional psychologist next year, a teacher to support either Academic Intervention Services or enrichment programs, a co-teacher for an inclusion class, special education teacher aides, a part-time data support specialist and additional monitors. To assist with technology, the district will also add a technician and a computer aide.

The proposed budget raises spending by 2.48 percent. The district’s tax levy would rise by 2.34 percent to $26.6 million. That is about $66,000 less than the allowable levy under the tax cap.

“Given that our budget includes the initiatives we feel are important for our children, we didn’t feel it was necessary to go up to the limit,” said Lisa Rutkoske, the assistant superintendent for business, who noted that this year’s budget follows a few years of cuts.

Board of Education Vice President Cristobal Stewart said that while some might say the district is leaving money on the table by not going up to the levy limit, board members did not feel it was necessary. “I think it’s a responsible budget,” he said. “We met the needs but respected the fact that these are tough times.”

Stewart added that by proposing a budget with a levy under the tax cap, it shows a good faith effort by the board that it is not trying to tax community members for every possible dollar it can get.

The budget maintains funding for all current programs in addition to the staffing enhancements. Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Stirling said that the spending plan supports the expectations of the community — an academic program focused on excellence. “I think we are presenting a budget to our community that keep kids first,” he said, “and at the same time is respectful of the economic climate that we’re presently in.”

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