Not surprisingly, the SD308 Board of Education is finding it difficult to reach a consensus on how to pare down its budget by approximately $8 million to $10 million.
Without cuts, the district is facing an estimated $3 million deficit for the 2018-19 school year that – without any cost-saving measures – is projected to mushroom to $8.8 million over the next five years.
On the table for potential cost-cutting are district staff positions, programs and extracurricular activities. Last week the board also moved to increase its revenues by filing a request with the state to boost driver’s ed fees from $250 to $400.
Over the past several weeks, the board has solicited suggestions on how costs should be cut from district residents and invited public comment at board meetings and board committee meetings.
Several district high school students have been among those to publicly urge the board to maintain the district’s extracurricular programs. We applaud the students for taking an active interest in not only their own educations but also local government.
We continue to hope that the cuts that are coming are structured in such a way as to have a minimal impact on the district’s extracurricular programs such as art, theater, music and sports. We believe these extracurriculars are necessary and essential to the growth and development of district students.
We would rather see the district increase student fees for extracurriculars – if and when possible – than eliminate them all together and thereby cost students the opportunity to expand their horizons beyond their regular classroom work.