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29 teachers get layoff notices from D65

The Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board voted tonight to send layoff notices to 29 teachers as the district struggles to deal with a potential budget deficit for next year estimated at up to $5.8 million.

The Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board voted tonight to send layoff notices to 29 teachers as the district struggles to deal with a potential budget deficit for next year estimated at up to $5.8 million.

The layoffs would represent about 4.5 percent of the system’s instructional workforce of 650 people. The projected deficit — primarily the result of expected cutbacks in state funding — amounts to as much as 6 percent of the district’s current-year operating budget of $95.4 million.

Despite a six percent spending increase by the district this year, School Superintendent Hardy Murphy said the district has managed its spending well and has not raised the tax burden on the community or compromised its operations.

But the projected cutbacks in state funding left the district with no choice, Murphy said, but to give the teachers the state-mandated advance notice of their expected termination.

"There’s no solace to be found in this decision," Murphy said, "These are people we care about who are part of the District 65 family."

Murphy said the reductions here are much smaller than in other districts across the state, with estimates that he said range from 9 percent to as many as 22 percent of teachers being laid off in some districts.

Jean Luft, president of the teachers union, the District 65 Educators Council, said up to 17,000 teachers statewide may get pink slips because of the lack of state funding.

"The nation has bailed out banks, stockbrokers and car companies, but not schools," Luft said, urging residents to attend the Illinois Education Association’s lobbying day in Springfield April 21 to seek restoration of school funding from the legislature.

The district’s finance director, Mary Brown, said estimates of the district deficit’s size now range from $2.7 million to $5.8 million as various plans are floated in Springfield for dealing with the state’s budget crisis.

The board is scheduled to adopt a tentative budget in June and a final budget in September.

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