Delavan-Darien School Board will consider another referendum

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Friday, April 11, 2014

DELAVAN—Cuts in the short term and the possibility of another referendum in the long term.

That's what the staff and residents of the Delavan-Darien School District are facing in the upcoming months.

On Monday, the Delavan-Darien School Board will meet in closed session at 6:30 p.m. followed by an open session meeting in the auditorium of the Phoenix Middle School.

At the meeting, the board will announce what the cuts will be.

Also on the agenda: discussion of an Aug. 12 referendum.

On April 1, school district voters rejected a referendum that would have allowed the district to exceed revenue limits by $2.1 million on a reoccurring basis. It failed on a vote of 1,727 to 1,163.

Before the vote, District Administrator Robert Crist warned that a failed referendum would mean significant budget cuts, the equivalent of 30 to 32 teaching positions.

On April 7, the board met in closed session for nearly three hours to consider options.

Crist wants to announce cuts to be made so staff will receive their preliminary non-renewal of contract notices by April 15.

In some cases, the cuts will mean rearranging duties of existing staff, he said.

“It's going to have a domino effect,” Crist said.

Hiring in the past several years has been in response to state mandates and to help the district improve its test scores and other measures of achievement.

Crist is worried that the losses will reverse the progress the district has made but at the same time thinks the board has “made a pretty good plan” to balance the budget.

What's next?

“I can tell you this right now, I'm going to recommend going to another referendum,” Crist said.

Perhaps the district would ask for a different amount of money or ask for it on a non-recurring basis. It would be up to the school board to decide the details and the timing.

He's not sure what the answer is.

“I just don't know,” Crist said. “It's terribly frustrating and disappointing. I feel like we answered the questions.”

Last updated: 4:52 pm Friday, April 11, 2014

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