DUNLAP — A Dunlap School District 323 proposal to bridge a $2 million budget deficit with program cuts, layoffs and fee increases is being worked out in closed School Board and committee meetings and won't be made public until mid-January.
A vote by the School Board is not expected until February. A hearing to discuss details of the proposal and to receive public input will be held at the board's Jan. 15 board meeting.
"When you're talking about this level of cuts, you got to talk about people and individual jobs," Superintendent Jay Marino said last week. "Discussion of personnel issues is allowable by state law to be conducted in executive session. No proposal is yet final."
Marino said school officials will meet with "impacted employee groups" beginning the week of Jan. 6 and then communicate in detail with all employees prior to the Jan. 15 board meeting and public forum.
"By then," Marino said, "it's public."
School officials have said that the district is a victim of convergent issues — rapidly increasing school enrollments and a sharp drop in the value of all the property in the district and the subsequent decline in the amount of property taxes it collects. The district added 382 students this school year — a 9-percent increase from the previous year — which brought the district total to more than 4,000 students for the first time.
Meanwhile, the increase in the equalized assessed value of all the property in the district went from double digits every year of the first decade of this century to .07 percent in this school year.
"The EAV has flattened," Marino said.
While the number of teacher and staff cuts and reductions in both core and non-core academic programs are not yet known publicly, the district has been more specific about potential increases in student fees.
Those changes include revenue generators such as paying to participate in extra-curricular activities and a $25 student fee increase. The cost of lunch would increase by 25 cents, a carton of milk by 15-cents and the cost to park at the high school by $25. The increased revenues would raise about $317,000.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at email@example.com. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.