(WGEM) -- As school funding woes continue in Illinois, Tri-State area school districts including Pikeland and Liberty were forced to make difficult staff cuts this week.
The Pikeland School Board met Wednesday night and made several staff cuts including three certified, full-time teachers, seven para-professionals and five mid-day bus drivers. Superintendent Paula Hawley says a major influence on Wednesday night's decisions was the uncertainty of the Pre-K program.
"We had to make the cuts assuming we won't have the pre-k program next year," Hawley said. "We just don't know at this point if we'll get the funding."
The school board also agreed to contract reductions for 7 certified, full-time teachers. Hawley said those reductions entail eliminating the 10 extra days those teachers get at the beginning and end of the school year for preparation.
The Liberty school district also made cuts during Tuesday night's board meeting. Reductions were necessary because of a $632,000 deficit in the education fund, and Superintendent Kelle Bunch says they were able to trim off about two-thirds of that amount.
Those cuts included one certified, full time teacher, four members of the support staff and two members of the cafeteria staff. Two other certified, full-time teachers received contract reductions as well.
"We looked at everything and tried to just trim each area," Bunch said. "The district has done a phenomenal job with money over the past several years, but we have to account for money we're not getting."
"It's almost unfair," Bunch added.
The Schuyler-Industry School Board cut two certified staff and will not fill three positions of retiring employees. Superintendent Mathew Plater says non-certified teachers will be cut at next month's board meeting as administrators are trying to cut more than $1 million from the budget. Plater says up to 30 support staff could be laid off.
Griggsville-Perry Superintendent Andrea Allen has also confirmed 11 para-professionals were cut during Wednesday night's meeting.
Two certified teachers, one of them out of pre-k, were also cut. Allen says those two positions will depend on whether the district will have a pre-k program. If the district receives funding for the program, both positions will be safe. If the pre-k program has to be cut, the pre-k teacher will be re-assigned within the district and the other position will be lost.
Staff cuts by the Brown County School Board Wednesday night affected four certified teachers. Superintendent Stan Adcock says three of those teachers - high school band, high school agriculture and middle school math - were part time and have been cut completely. The other is a full-time high school business teacher and that position has been dropped to part-time.
Several athletic programs including High school track, middle and high school cheerleading, and golf were facing elimination, but the board was able to preserve them. Instead, members decided on raising participation and entrance fees, and all of the athletic program budgets will be cut by 25%.
The school district will also look into hiring a private company to provide bus transportation.
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