Hebron school officials to look at potential cuts

2013-05-08T16:49:00Z 2013-05-09T12:08:10Z Hebron school officials to look at potential cutsTimes Staff nwitimes.com
May 08, 2013 4:49 pm  • 

HEBRON | School officials will start next week deciding what to cut from next year’s budget in order to bring spending in line with their funding.

Voters on Tuesday rejected the Metropolitan School District of Boone Township’s request to increase property taxes to fund certain school programs.

The referendum, which failed to pass by four votes, would have paved the way for Hebron schools to receive an additional $530,000 per year for the next seven years.

Superintendent George Letz said his district has taken several hits financially. Not only has state funding fallen off, but it also is hurt by the district’s low assessed value and statewide property tax caps.

“This election, once again, points to haves and have not, in terms of assessed value,” Letz said. “When there’s a low assessed value, meaning there no small industry in our district, that doesn’t generate enough funding. That’s inequality in opportunity for students — it’s something the Legislature never wants to look at.”

Letz said the tax caps cost the schools $400,000 last year.

All of those funding cuts, and the failure to get approval to tax beyond the tax caps means more spending cuts.

Letz said Wednesday he will meet with the School Board in executive session next week to talk about potential cuts in personnel. All positions are up for discussion.

Letz said previously the school would have to cut nine or 10 of the current 53 teaching positions. With some teacher retirements planned, he wasn’t sure how many teachers would lose their jobs.

He and School Board members also will begin considering what programs would have to be cut as personnel are cut. He didn’t expect a public vote on cuts until the June 11 School Board meeting.

Letz said he and the School Board also will consider whether to call for a recount since the referendum failed by just four votes.

Sundae Schoon, the Republican director of the Porter County voter registration office, said Wednesday there are no provisional or absentee ballots that have not been counted.

Hebron school officials could request a recount, she said. That request would need to be made by May 21. The cost of the recount depends on the outcome of the recount, she said. If the county’s certified numbers are found to be incorrect after a recount, the county would pay the cost. If the numbers are correct, the school district would pay the cost, she said.

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