Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2013, 10:35 pm

Rockridge schools face budget cuts

Comment on this story

By Kelly Steiner ksteiner@qconline.com

The Rockridge school board will cut between $700,000 and $1 million from the district's budget for the next school year.

At a Wednesday meeting, the board told community members listed potential cuts, including six teachers, administrative positions, teacher's aides, an elementary building, extra-curriculars, the Response to Intervention staff and sixth-grade band.

"This is a $13 million business that's losing money," school board president Dan Neneman said. "I don't want to see anyone lose their job, but for next year there will be job cuts. There is not one board member or one administrator that takes that decision lightly."

Rockridge is facing enrollment declines and delayed state aid payments. It also anticipates future problems with pension changes and less money from the state.

Board members said cutting six teaching positions would save the district $327,000. Community members expressed concern over cutting the junior high language arts staff in half, from four to two teachers.

One board member said closing either Illinois City or Reynolds elementary school would save $110,000. Students would be moved toneighboring schools in the district, with sixth-graders moved to the junior high school.

The district also is considering raising taxes; higher participation, registration and lunch fees; adding parking fees, selling advertising in the gyms and athletic fields; establishing an academic foundation; bringing in special education students from neighboring districts for a fee; and contracting custodial, maintenance and lunch staff.

Board members said they are looking at all options.