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Edgerton schools face cuts

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Stacy Vogel
December 10, 2007
— Changes in state school funding and declining enrollment could force the Edgerton School District to eliminate more than 10 jobs and cause major changes at Edgerton High School in the next few years, Superintendent Norm Fjelstad wrote in memos to staff and school board members in the last two weeks.

The district has to cut $150,000 in maintenance budgets and $50,000 in staff budgets in 2008-09, Fjelstad wrote. In 2009-10, it has to cut $500,000, the equivalent of five teachers and five support staff members, he wrote.


The school board will start discussing the proposed cuts at its meeting tonight.


It's important the district and the board address budget measures right away because they will affect employment and course offerings in the coming years, especially at the high school, Fjelstad said. The district also wants to let staff and residents offer input before Fjelstad announces the changes next fall.


"We are eight months away from making a final recommendation, but we do not want this recommendation to be a surprise to the board," he wrote.


Declining enrollment will combine with the change in school funding in the 2007-09 state budget to reduce revenue, said Mark Worthing, district business manager.


Late in the budget process this year, the state switched some funding from general school aid to property tax credits, changing the amount of aid each school gets. Edgerton wound up receiving $188,000 less than it expected from the state for 2007-08.


The cuts will hit the high school especially hard, Fjelstad wrote. Officials expect enrollment at the high school to drop from 600 to 500 students in the next four years.


Fjelstad laid out a variety of possible effects the cuts could have on the high school, including:


-- Replacing some classes with study halls;


-- Switching some AP classes from full-year classes to one-semester classes;


-- Reducing graduation requirements;


-- Eliminating some electives;


-- Switching from a four-period "block schedule" to a seven-period school day.


Fjelstad made his frustration with the state legislature clear in his memo to staff members but urged them to prepare themselves for the changes.


"It makes me very sad to send this memo because I go through stages just like you," he wrote. "I deny that it is real. Then I become angry that the state does not provide adequate funding and that education is not a priority Ö


"The bottom line is there seems to be no change on the horizon by the Republicans or Democrats on the imposed revenue limits. Therefore, you must brace yourself for this downsizing despite the total lack of logic and common sense."


If you go

What: Edgerton School Board meeting.


When: 7 p.m. tonight.


Where: District office, 200 Elm High Drive, Edgerton.


Proposed cuts

2008-09


-- Freeze on instructional budgets.


-- $150,000 cut in maintenance budgets.


-- $50,000 cut in high school staff, to be achieved through attrition. The district already knows of two teachers who donít intend to return in 2008-09, Business Manager Mark Worthing said.


2009-10


-- $200,000 cut in high school staff.


-- $160,000 cut in middle school staff.


-- $140,000 cut in elementary school staff.


One way the 2009-10 cuts could be achieved is by reducing one teacher and two support staff members from the elementary schools, two teachers and one support staff member from the middle school, and two teachers and two support staff members from the high school, Superintendent Norm Fjelstad wrote in his memo.


The proposed staff cuts in 2008-09 and 2009-10 would total 4.5 percent of the current staff budget.



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