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Nisky narrows down budget reductions

A few cuts were tossed aside by the board for now, which included reducing the Foreign Language Department from 0.6 full-time equivalent employees to 0.4 FTE for elementary students, reducing the Explorers Program from 2 FTE to 1 FTE and reducing to sections of teaching at Iroquois Middle School. The pool is also proposed to stay open in July too by negotiating an agreement with an outside group to at least make the $3,102 expense neutral. The board also will be marking further decisions on cuts after hearing from the public during the budget forum on Monday, March 21, at the high school at 7 p.m.

Besides the above mentioned cuts, the majority of Level 1 to 3 cuts appear to be intact moving forward, but a possible $1 million could be saved if unions and associations in the district accept a pay freeze.

"The unprecedented reduction in state and federal funding coupled with rising costs threatens the district's ability to provide programs and services to our children," said Baughman in a statement. "We need to consider all options to close the budget gap, including the shared sacrifice of a salary freeze. Saving from freezing wages would be used to both save programs and maintain a lower school tax for our community members."

The groups would have by March 28 to make a decision, so the board could figure in the savings before approving the budget on April 5. As of the night of the board meeting, Baughman said he hasn't heard a formal response from any of the unions yet. State aid has reduced by $1.4 million and federal aid is reduced by $1.5 million for the district, opening the discussion for the pay freeze.""

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