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District 113A Board Approves More Staff Cuts for Next School Year

The cuts will likely include teachers in specialty areas, including those in music, art, physical education, psychologists, social workers, counselors, special education and school counselors.

The Board of Education approved Monday cutting about 10 more full-time, certified staff members for the 2011-12 school year to reduce expenditures in the next fiscal year.

Those cuts will include two administrators, six tenured teachers and 2.5 non-tenured teachers.

At Monday's meeting, board members voted 6-1 in favor of the administration’s recommendation, with Janet Hughes casting the lone vote against the measure.

According to district documents, the reduction would result in a total savings of approximately $695,329.

“It’s with deep regret we have to do this,” District 113A Superintendent Tim Ricker said.

The cuts will likely include teachers in specialty areas, including those in music, art, physical education, psychologists, social workers, counselors, special education and school counselors.

Under the financial plan approved by the Illinois State Board of Education, District 113A is required to eliminate borrowing and build fund balances over the next two years by reducing expenditures and/or increasing revenue. The district has been operating under the plan since it was certified in financial difficulty by the state in December.

Additionally, the state currently owes District 113A about $1.3 million in categorical funding, an issue district officials are "deeply concerned" about heading into budget season, Ricker said prior to the meeting.

"If we do not receive that money from the state by the end of the year, our fund balances will be at $400,000," he said. "That concerns us."

Ricker said the timing of the cuts had nothing to do with the April 5 election. According to state law, tenured teachers must be notified of their dismissal at least 60 days prior to the end of the current school year, while non-tenured teachers must receive 45 days notice. Had the district waited until after the election, it would have been too late, Ricker said.

During the public hearing held before the vote, resident Dave Maher asked school board members to reconsider making the cuts, saying fewer teachers mean more students in each classroom.

“I do not feel 40 kids in a classroom is acceptable,” he said. “I feel at this time we’re not doing our students justice if we support teacher layoffs.”

Maher instead urged the community to support the upcoming referendum.

“I’m committed to the referendum and to getting it passed,” he said. “In my opinion, keep the teachers that are here and if the referendum fails, so be it.”

Maher specifically addressed board member Janet Hughes, saying he has sent her numerous e-mails, questioning her reasons for voting against the last referendum and plans to vote against the next one.

“Mrs. Hughes, I’m holding you accountable,” he said. “My children have 40 kids in their classes. I’ve heard you vote no for the referendum and you vote no for teacher lay-offs. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

According to the state financial plan, the board is to consider an . However, the district's plans could change depending on the outcome of the.

Last year, District 113A eliminated 42 certified staff members, 12 paraprofessionals, 12 buildings/grounds staff members and four administrators for a total savings of $3.17 million for the current fiscal year.

Amanda Luevano (Editor) March 25, 2011 at 11:32 AM
I just wanted to note that I updated the article this morning. In my preview story posted Monday morning, I had a couple paragraphs about the money owed to District 113A by the state ($1.3 million — a big reason the cuts were made) and the state laws that mandate 60 days notice for tenured teachers and 45 days for non-tenured teachers. Just wanted to clarify. Thank you.
Thomas Lee March 25, 2011 at 03:09 PM
As reported on the Illinois Board of Elections website: The Teachers' Union just contributed YESTERDAY an additional $5500 to the citizensfor113a referenda political group to pay for polling services.
Tom Schatz March 25, 2011 at 03:55 PM
When do we get to find out the true amount of money spent or donated by the special interest group, Americans for Prosperity / Tea Party to the campaign efforts of known Tea Party members Hughes and Riegle. How many of you received the 'Robo Calls', (Yes plural)... that state we having a spending problem?.... We spend less than any comparable school in the surrounding counties.
Nancy Calderon March 25, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Tom Schatz, that was my first thought when I saw the post by Mr. Lee. Thank you for bringing that out . I guess I am just looking for some, hmm, what is the word......"Transparency" by the AFP as well. Where can we go to get that info Mr. Lee, do you know. I too received 2 phone calls from the AFP. Will they please include the costs of advertising on this very web site, by one of the candidates, (see bottom of page).
Robyn Horn March 25, 2011 at 04:07 PM
"Mr. Lee" - Would you agree it's time to come together as a community to help solve our education problem? All I seem to read from you is that you are picking apart the "citizens" group. I would think you would agree "Mr. Lee" that in order to solve this, we need a board that can get past the pettiness of grudges and stop picking apart at every tiny thread and start solving the bigger picture. I hope our newly elected board has positive issues and I am sure you would agree to that. I would also think "Mr. Lee" if you were running for board that you would see the bigger issues, and not just oppose everything the opposition does because we want votes based on logical and tactical reasoning. Of course, you're not running "Mr. Lee" so we won't have to worry.
Thomas Lee March 25, 2011 at 04:10 PM
I don't disagree. Transparency for sure! But the AFP is not collecting funds from hard working teachers who are getting their jobs cut. You are missing my point. I feel bad for the teachers who are forced to give part of their salary to an union that turns around and hands over to a political organization. Did they have a choice? $13,000 in the last couple months? Educate me please.
Robyn Horn March 25, 2011 at 04:11 PM
It just disgusts me what this town has come to. Solve the issues!! Of course the teachers would want the referendum to pass. They're not doing their job for the outstanding pay. I'm tired of these naysayers picking everything apart. You wanted the checkbook online for transparency. You got it!! So now you need another platform because your whole side is falling apart. Stop with the sides and give the kids a good education. If you have a better way of doing it, I'd vote for you... but I havent seen feasible options that can be done IN LEMONT!! That can give us enough revenue. The Tea Party compared us to one district, the citizens compared us to just about ALL (unless they were k-12). Anyone can pick something and use it out of context. Of course it takes a selfish person to do it knowing it's hurting our kids!
Nancy Calderon March 25, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Well, I am glad to see you have some compassion for these teachers, although compassion is not what they are looking for, I am sure. Probably they would rather have your support. To my thinking, I am sure the teachers in the union are probably more than happy to contribute to this cause. It supports education, they are teachers, kinda makes sense, no? By the way, I did not realize that the referendum constitued a "Political Organization", which one would that be. I thought a referendum was a referendum.
Tom Klimczak March 25, 2011 at 05:36 PM
The supporters of the referendum are likely the political organization that received the funds. Anyone else out there think this referendum isn't political?
Tom Klimczak March 25, 2011 at 05:42 PM
I know...'it's all about the children' again. Anyone out there think that $60,938 or $118,910 is a less than outstanding amount of compensation? Those dollar amounts are the average annual cash compensation of 113a's teachers and administrators, respectively. This does not include bennies. Outstanding indeed.
Nancy Calderon March 25, 2011 at 06:05 PM
A political organization would be made up of people, I would guess, of pretty much the same viewpoint, they would pretty much vote for the same political party. Unless, you have personally polled every supporter of the referendum to determine their party affiliation, then that there is a pretty bold statement you are making. Please make sure when you make statements such as the above , that you make clear to everyone that it is your ASSUMPTION, not based on fact in any way, but your ASSUMPTION, that this is the case. Speaking only from my personal experience, and I want to make that clear, my PERSONAL experience, in no way a fact, but I have noticed that many of supporters are from actually both sides of the major political parties. This sort of surprises me, but I guess, most people are not making a decision from a political perspective, but from a dispassionate, financial viewpoint. Those who look at the whole picture and what are our real , viable choices, and I emphasize the word VIABLE, realize that our immediate need is to get this referendum passed. Without passage of referendum, it will not matter who runs the board, as they will not be making the decisions, the state will. And make no mistake, even if the state does not come in right now as some say,they will eventually because this debt is not going away without the referendum I dont care who you vote in. Vote for whomever you want, vote your TIGGERS (intentional!) in if you want, BUT Vote YES to Referendum
Tom Klimczak March 25, 2011 at 06:42 PM
That would be true if 210 didn't admit that they could continue TAWs indefinitely. Regardless. No pussycats on the Board, please. Tigers!
catherine greenspon March 25, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Tom, Have you heard from ISBE? To date, I haven't heard a word.
Tom Klimczak March 25, 2011 at 06:49 PM
Nope.
Susan Antonoff March 26, 2011 at 04:16 AM
Thank you Mr. Molitor, for taking time to respond to Patch questions and comments. That shows me that you can and will work for the community.
Brian Thornber March 26, 2011 at 04:58 AM
I support the referendum, I supported the last referendum, and not until this became a broader discussion about fat cat teachers and tax rates across the country did I ever think it was remotely political. The question for me has always been, is the referendum the best thing for the community.
Mike Whatley March 26, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Mr. Molitor and Mrs. Kelly, I would like to have the same feeling Mrs. Antonoff has in regards to you working with the community as I’m hopeful she is correct. However, I sent you an email on 3/23 with several questions and I have no response as of today. I understand this is a very busy time for you and all candidates. The others candidates I have interest in have already provided responses. Furthermore, I understand transparency is a big concern these days. If you like I can post the questions here and you can reply so the community has the benefit of reviewing your responses. Finally, my offer stands if you would like me to host you at my home as I have for others. I find it allows for clear understanding of a candidates postions on very important matters. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
John Wood March 26, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Mr. Finn, your suggestion to rely on the fund reserves (20 million in the bank) at 210 would require District 210 and District 113A, if consolidated, to continue to deficit spend. Several years prior to Dr. Ricker's arrival District 113A began to use their fund reserves and now they are being called irresponsible and accused of mis-management of district assets. If anyone thinks that fund reserves should be used now, then how can they say it was wrong before?
Susan Antonoff March 26, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Exactly, Mr. Wood. Back then, I believe 113A did begin making gradual cuts like when they terminated 6th grade sports. Eventually 210 will end up cutting more when their reserve funds become depleted.
martin finn March 26, 2011 at 09:59 PM
My idea, combine districts, set 16 million aside for reserve balance fund. Tell the people of Lemont how many teachers it takes to run the combined district efficiently, let us know exactly what non-mandated programs deserve the taxpayers of Lemont to pay for and not the parents of Lemont students. Use the four million still left over from the twenty in the bank to accomplish these goals. Never deficit spend, demonstrate over the next two years or so, how much it takes to run an efficient district with all citizens observing the efficient manner with which the new district operates. Then with expenditures pretty well known along with revenues, have the community fund the district to that efficient level. Truly needed in our community who would miss out on non-mandated programs that are not funded by the district can be integrated through fundraising and an appeal to the generous, kind loving people that live in this village.
David Molitor March 27, 2011 at 06:07 AM
Mr. Finn, I have already responded to the problems with this idea. That issue was discussed at the Mayor’s Forum on Public education, and here what was brought up on consolidating 113A and 210: http://lemont.patch.com/articles/town-hall-meeting-on-public-education-live-blog. See comment at 8:45PM by Mrs. Doebert. The districts not being coterminous would cost the consolidated district $500,000 in revenue per year, teacher salary alignment another $1.5 Million per year. What this means is, you are willing to lose $2 million dollars a year in revenue for the "combined" district, and, SD 113A would still be responsible for its own debt. How is that being fiscally responsible?
David Molitor March 27, 2011 at 06:09 AM
Mr. Whatley, The last few days have been quite busy. Additionally, with the week of Spring Break upon us, has made it even more busy. I have responded to your Email. Thanks for your questions.
martin finn March 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM
I understand these roadblocks, I was speaking in terms of my perfect world. There would be also some cost savings, I believe, factored in to the consolidation. And, further, starting out with 20 million in the bank, I sure would like to have my chance at making a go of things as one school district. But, of course, that is in my perfect world. Also, could you or anyone tell me if the 20 million in the reserve account is really $14.5 million and awaits replenishment from 113A TAW, or, will it increase to 25.5 million once TAW is returned, or am I looking at this all wrong? Thanks.
Mike Whatley March 27, 2011 at 09:09 PM
I communicated with Dr. Ricker via email regarding the teacher’s agreement being negotiated. I focused on the posted budgets and related expenses for two line items, health/dental cost which in round numbers is about $2.3 million in expenses and covers 163 folks. I asked if I missed any items that would increase/decrease the number. No response was provided so I assume I’m in the ballpark. If I captured the true cost it appears if the teachers/staff contributed just 25% toward the cost identified we reduce cost $572,000. Simple math indicates that would be enough to keep/hire 9 teacher at $60K, or 11 at $50k each. However, Dr. Ricker did provide this information. “Your assumption of $50 K a teacher to be restored is an inaccurate picture of the cost of the teachers we will be reinstating based upon School Code and Illinois Statutes. Since we cut tenured teachers both last year and this year, we will have to offer tenured teachers positions first for any position for which they are qualified if positions are reinstated. If and when those teachers either take another job or refuse it would the district be in a position to be able to offer positions to less expensive/non-tenured teachers. This is the law for reduction in force and part of the Teacher Tenure Act.” Folks, this is just one opportunity to begin the end, of business as usual. We must have the staff contribute more to the benefits they receive to save teacher positions. Its good business. Continued…
Mike Whatley March 27, 2011 at 09:09 PM
Dr. Ricker also said “We are currently in negotiations on all of these issues using Scariano, Himes & Petrarca as our negotiator and Group Alternative as our benefits consultant. The public should expect information on the contract when it is finalized and approved by the Board per our current contract agreement and the Illinois Fair Labor Standards Act. If you believe that the public has some expectation of the labor groups to contribute to their health, dental and life insurance programs, I would be glad to pass that along to the Board committee that is negotiating the contract now.” Dr. Ricker copied these folks: Jay Tovian, Lisa Wright, Sue Murphy, Cathy Slee, William Caron, Susan Wulczyn, Mary Gricus, Kevin Doherty My response was “How could we not be expecting them to contribute more for benefits with plans to cut additional teachers and a referendum for $20m on the table. As I said in my initial email it looks to me as if an additional 25% contribution could save 9-11 teachers positions. I'm pretty sure you heard loud and clear the community wants to keep our teachers. In order to do so you had no fear in asking for $20m. You should have no fear in asking the teacher to help as well. I would hope and expect the teachers would welcome the opportunity to save positions to prevent classes from becoming even larger. I encourage you to contact Dr. Ricker and the negotiations’ team to share your thoughts. Let’s demand no more business as usual.
Tim Ricker March 28, 2011 at 02:19 AM
Mr. Whatley: Thank you for sending some of the contents of emails I sent you answering your questions and giving you information via the Patch. I am have always welcomed emails, phone calls and have answered them in a timely manner. While some may not like the answers to the questions, I none the less answer all. I have always subscribed to the thought of asking those directly who may have information or answers to questions is he most expediant and forthright way of deciding upon issues. I hope citizens take your advice and call or write with their thoughts. My email is timricker@sd113a.org or my office phone number is 630-257-2286 ext. 4605. I also eccourage eveyone to check out the factual information on our webpage at www.sd113a.org.
Michelle Nevin March 28, 2011 at 04:08 AM
Mr. Whately, really? How many times do I need to throw out my name, my phone number, etc. to ask people if they have questions to please let me know. What are you still wondering about that we can't help you with at this point. For the record you know I'm a teacher in 113A! If it's about negotiations I won't answer but you can at least acknowledge what I do! Ms. Nevin
Tom Klimczak March 28, 2011 at 04:44 AM
I understand the $500K. It's the realignment of salaries that I do not. Can't there be a two tiered pay scale between the levels being taught? Also, has anyone explored if there would be any cost savings by 113a contracting out its admin functions to 210? There should be savings there, even without a physical consolidation.
Susan Antonoff March 28, 2011 at 12:04 PM
Thomas, I am saving you more than a dollar a day. I am not enrolled in the medical health program offered. So you really don't know and that is understandably so.
Mike Whatley March 28, 2011 at 12:07 PM
Ms. Nevin, I do know you’re a teacher. Beyond that I don’t know what you expect me to ask you that I couldn’t ask Dr. Ricker especially when you say “What are you still wondering about that we CAN'T help you with at this point.” Please help me understand what you want me to acknowledge and I’ll try to do so.

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