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Oswego

SD308 Board to vote on budget reductions at Feb. 12 meeting

SD308 Board of Education President Brad Banks reads a prepared statement before the public comment section at a recent board meeting.
SD308 Board of Education President Brad Banks reads a prepared statement before the public comment section at a recent board meeting.

The SD308 Board of Education will make a series of votes on which items will be cut or changed in the budget in order to trim between $8 million and $10 million from the district’s budget during its meeting on Monday, Feb. 12.

The next Board of Education meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Oswego East High School Performing Arts Center.

The district is anticipating a surplus of $1,792,169 for fiscal 2018, but if the board makes no changes to the budget, the surplus will become a deficit of slightly more than $3 million. According to financial projections announced by the district, if nothing is done by fiscal 2023, the district’s projected year-end balance would have a deficit of $7.5 million.

To take the public’s input into account when making decisions, the district featured a “suggestion box” on its website, for ideas on items to change or cut, as well as revenue sources. The board has also hosted public forums for parents, students and community members to voice concerns over whether certain programs would be cut or reduced from the budget.

The current list of items up for consideration by the board can be found on the district’s BoardDocs website, which can be reached through the Board of Education’s page on the district website, sd308.org.

Several contentious items are still up for debate, including increasing athletic fees at the junior high and high school levels, restructuring the gifted education service model at the elementary level, a 10 percent reduction to the high school athletic budgets, and a reduction of support staff at the district level. The list also features the monetary amount that the district would save, in the case of cuts, or gain, in the case of revenue items.

According to Board President Brad Banks, at Monday’s meeting the board will first vote on whether to keep or remove the new items added to the list. Once that series of votes is taken, the board will go back to the top of the list, and will vote item-by-item on which items will be placed on the “Budget Revenue/Reduction Plan,” which Banks referred to as “Exhibit A.” Items that have “options” for the board to select from will be presented together as a group, listed as 1A, 1B, 1C, and so on. The board will then select an option from the group.

Any of the items identified by the board for potential reduction that would require a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oswego Education Association will be placed at the end of the list, as they would be subject to collective bargaining with the OEA.

Two additional screens will be on the stage, to show the items the board has voted to add to Exhibit A, as well as a running total of the generated revenues and reductions. After the last vote is taken, the board will vote on a resolution to adopt the revenue/reduction plan.

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