District 300 cuts 363 jobs

March 24, 2011

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More than 360 teachers in the northwest suburbs could lose their jobs at the end of the school year. That's if the District 300 school board can't bridge a $5 million budget gap. The state owes the district $11 million in categorical funds. The Board assumes that will be paid and in the best case scenario will need to bridge the $5 million gap for the coming year.

The district has about 21,000 students and is the sixth largest district in Illinois by enrollment.

The Wednesday board meeting was met with fiery comments from the community. The board voted 4 to 3 to allow the layoffs of 363 teachers. Those employees will get their notices this week that their jobs will be terminated at the end of the school year.

Some students in Algonquin walked out of their classes today in protest of the vote.

Allison Strupek is a spokeswoman for the district. She says the schools are already squeezed after making cuts last year including layoffs, pay cuts and even turning down the heat in district facilities.

"The second wave of budget reductions that we're encountering right now is for the very same reason, and that is the state fiscal crisis that we're all suffering from. And we truly are in this together," she said.

Strupek says the district expects to recall at least half of the teachers, even all them depending on the outcome of collective bargaining talks with the teachers union. The board and the union will discuss several options including wage and benefit concessions. Strupek says it's possible the two sides could come to an agreement in a matter of weeks.

But she says the district also looks to the state to make funding reforms.