The District 65 school board has scheduled a special meeting next Tuesday to discuss possible teacher layoffs in the face of what administrators estimate could be as much as a $5.5 million budget deficit for next year.

The shortfall is mainly the result of cutbacks in state funding as the state tries to cope with its own budget troubles.

The District 65 school board has scheduled a special meeting next Tuesday to discuss possible teacher layoffs in the face of what administrators estimate could be as much as a $5.5 million budget deficit for next year.

The shortfall is mainly the result of cutbacks in state funding as the state tries to cope with its own budget troubles.

The district has to act soon on potential layoffs. Under state law, the board has to provide 60 days advance notice to tenured teachers, 45 days to non-tenured teachers and 30 days to non-instructional staff.

Superintendent Hardy Murphy says uncertainty about the state’s funding level means the deficit could end up being anywhere from $2.7 million to $5.5 million and that the board needs to consider alternative scenarios for cuts depending on what the state ultimately decides to fund.

About 80 percent of the district’s budget is spent on employee salary and benefits.

The current year’s operating budget totals $95.4 million, a six percent increase over the previous year.

The City of Evanston last month adopted a budget that cut $9.5 million from a budget of roughly $90 million. The reductions included nearly 40 layoffs.

The special school board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the administration building, 1500 McDaniel Ave.

Related stories

Evanston teacher layoffs loom (Evanston Review)

School District 65 faces potential deficits (Evanston RoundTable)

District 65 OKs 6% budget boost (Evanston Now, Sept. 22, 2009)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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7 Comments

  1. It is time for school consolidation
    Let’s see, the D65 board last September during the third year of a recession approved a 6 percent increase in the budget with 12 new teachers, 25.7 million in capital projects and a TEACHER PAY RAISE!!!!

    Six months later, there is suddenly a projected 5.5 million budget deficit. This in light of the fact that D202 spends $20,000 per student – one of the highest in the state (not sure what D65 spends per student).

    D65 Superintendent Hardy Murphy gets a surprise contract extension the second new board members are voted in, and parents last month had to frantically wait hours in line just to register their children because D65 is contemplating redistricting.

    Who in the world is running the show here?

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. It is high time to consider the cost-cutting no-brainer – school consolidation and Page is the tot eventually grows up.

  2. Time for fiscal responsibility @ D202 & D65
    City Government in Evanston has moved in the right direction demonstrating some fiscal restraint during these challenging times. This year’s city budget required some difficult decisions, but taxes were not raised. Now we need to ask leadership at D202 and D65 to do the same. Most people understand that the schools account for the majority of our tax dollars. Let’s take the time to seriously consider how D202 and D65 operate; should they merge into 1 district to save on overhead costs, or can the operations of the existing districts and schools become more efficient, thereby saving costs but not reducing services or the quality of the educational experience? The knee jerk reaction discussing teacher reductions is premature. Let’s figure out ways to become more efficient 1st, then look at administrative costs, and then look at teachers. Questions such as why does every administrator in D65 have a personal secretary need to be asked (i am NOT singling out secrectaries, but am using this as an example of how things are currently managed) With the issues at Haven, why hire another assistant principal @ 100K per year, instead of having one effective principal and one assistant principal? These are just 2 examples, and i am sure people can come up with more opportunities to save money. By the way Anonymous Al, D65 spends about $15,000 per student.

    1. 80 percent of costs are labor costs
      I agree — District 65 needs to start exercising some fiscal responsibility. With District 65, 80 percent of its costs are labor costs.

      If it’s true that there is a secretary as a single assignment for many of the administrators at the Hill Center, that is ridiculous. For-profit entities changed that ratio many years ago. Perhaps (and that’s only a maybe) the Superintendent should have his own secretary but no one else.

      How about better use of technology? Parents with students in the District could register completely online with proof of residence mailed in. Parents who do not have students in the District could complete almost all of the documentation online with an in-person visit limited to establishing proof of residency. Such a system could be designed and last for at least 10 years (with some money for routine maintenance and upgrades).

      District 65 needs to do what many for-profit business did years ago — watch the bottom line but reducing staff costs whenever possible.

      And cutting classroom teachers should be the last resort. Instead, Superintendent Murphy and the Board talk about firing classroom teachers to rile up parents. There are plenty of staff members at the Hill Center who enjoy a nice, relaxing day on the District 65 payroll. Given what I have seen on my visits to the District 65 headquarters, staff at the Hill Center should be cut by 20-30 percent by the end of this school year. The assistant to the deputy assistant for the head of — you get my drift — isn’t needed.

    2. One School District
      Naperville has two school districts but they have 140,000 residents—many more than Evanston. Beside one includes parts of Woodridge and Bolingbrook. One includes a chunk of Aurora.
      It is time Evanston unites the districts and gets rid of all the duplication of staff and budgets—since of course each wants to maintain its identity and you do that by growing and asking for more money each year even if you have to invent ways to spend it so your budget will never decrease.

  3. 65-202 budgets
    Both school districts gave pay increases during their recent negotiations and locked it in for four years- unbelievable during these economic times. Had the boards not given the increases, one wonders if there would have to be staff reductions.
    While I agree that the superintendents should not have gotten raises – or anybody else for that matter- a superintendent is just one salary . Take a look at the numbers when you apply 6 and 4 percent to hundreds of salaries.
    Just plain poor judgement on our side of the negotiating table.

  4. MORE Time in Class
    Last weekend the Wall Street Journal had an extended article [many publications have said the same thing] about the short days and number of weeks in the year American students spend in the classroom or even in any educational instruction and how in so many areas Americans lag far behind other nations.

    We need to increase the school day substantially–maybe 8AM to 4:30 PM—and make sure that time is spent in either the classroom setting or at least in study hall. The school week should also include at least 1/2 day on Saturday and the school year should probably run for at least 48 weeks.

    Teachers may cry that they are already underpaid and spend long hours. They should wake-up to the fact that in business, law and esp. medicine a 60 hour week [office time, taking work home and research/staying current] is only something you can dream of having. University teachers also have to spend similar time.

    Many teachers lack the real education in their field [degrees in their subject not ‘____ for teachers’], so at least they should make it up with substantial class time.

    1. Many teachers have degrees in
      Many teachers have degrees in their subjects as well as degrees in education-especially in districts 65 and 202. Evanston teachers spend more than 60 hours a week staying current, examining research, taking work home, AND in “office” time with parents, students, and other staff members (co-teaching & co-planning). Claiming that a teacher only works during the school day is like saying a lawyer only works when in the courtroom or an advertising agent only works when making pitches in boardrooms.

      As a parent of a district 65 student, I get emails from teachers posted at 4:30 a.m. and 11:36 p.m. – proof that good teachers are always on call. Summers are spent in professional development workshops and presenting & participating at professional conferences-these are usually paid for by teachers, not their districts. University teachers, lawyers, buisnesspeople, and doctors get paid much higher salaries than our teachers-most of our teachers can’t even afford to live here. Teachers should be getting paid MORE-especially in a district that is consistently recognized for excellence in demonstrating student growth & success.

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