Plainfield School Board will vote on part of the $7.6 deficit reduction plan at a 7:30 p.m. special meeting (Jan. 18) Tuesday in the auditorium at Plainfield High School, 24120 W. Fort Beggs Drive, Plainfield.
The board is expected to vote only on a portion of the administrative recommendation and is not expected to vote on the entire plan, said Spokesman Tom Hernandez in an e-mail.
The agenda did not indicate what part of the plan the board expected to approve.
Superintendent John Harper will not be explaining to the taxpayers why stimulus money is not being used to save jobs at this special meeting, said Spokesman Tom Hernandez.
That will happen at the Jan. 24th meeting where administration will explain some of its long-term thinking about how the district will use the money to get long-term benefits because the money is a one-time revenue source.
Hernandez said this meeting is not a public forum. The purpose is not to gather additional public input on the administrative recommendation. However, public comment will be taken as it normally is at regular board meetings with a time limit of about 20 minutes.
The board still intends to vote on the entire deficit reduction plan no later than Feb. 28, Hernandez said.
In December, Superintendent John Harper unveiled a $7.6 million deficit reduction plan that would cut 112 full-time equivalent positions and change school times.
Harper said the three-tier busing system would save $598,298 by having a bus driver handle three routes instead of two, eliminating the need for about 30 buses and adjusting school times.
If the board embraced the bus plan, some jobs could be saved and the district could still eliminate the $6.7 million deficit. Harper said he did not intend to cut $7.6 million when there's a deficit of $6.7 million.
That means perhaps about $600,000 in salaries could be put back into the budget for next school year.
At last week's public forum, Larry Lehman asked the board to use the $5.7 million in stimulus money to prevent lay-offs. He said it would be an insult to federal taxpayers for the district to accept the money, but not use it to save jobs.
"This money is a gift," he said. "Let's use the money for what it is intended for."
Harper said there isn't a clear and concise answer to Lehman's legitimate question, but he will have one ready at the next board meeting. Harper said they will explain the impact the one-time grant would have on the deficit if it is used for jobs now.
Harper said the district is considering to use the money to provide long-term benefit, such as paying off a debt service or pay for land.
Hernandez wrote in a district-wide e-mail Friday that the debt keeps compounding despite the cuts.
"Despite cutting about $33 million in expenses over the last two years, District 202 still faces a likely multi-million operating fund deficit next year, because of rising costs. What's more, that deficit is likely to compound for the next several years if economic conditions and state funding do not improve significantly," Hernandez wrote. "However, the good news is that the projected deficit is much smaller than it was even last August, thanks to the district's hard work to control, contain and reduce costs."