Champaign schools' budget outlook: $550,000 deficit, 'limited expansion' in staff

Champaign schools' budget outlook: $550,000 deficit, 'limited expansion' in staff

CHAMPAIGN — A preliminary budget for the Champaign school district next year will show "limited expansion" in the form of added teaching positions, technology purchases and training for teachers to use that technology in their classrooms.

The school district's Chief Operating Officer Gene Logas presented a preliminary budget for next year at Monday's school board meeting and said he expects a deficit of about $550,000 next year.

That comes after the 2010-11 budget had a $3.5 million surplus. The school district expects a $3.1 million surplus this year. Those were a result of past budget cuts, Logas said.

Some of next year's expansion will be in the form of new positions in the school district, which the school board approved 6-0 Monday.

Those positions include five teaching and teacher's aide positions, in case enrollment warrants it at the beginning of next school year. They also include a new custodian for the new, larger Carrie Busey Elementary School in Savoy, which will open this year, an additional nurse, more bus drivers and monitors and restored clerical hours at Champaign high schools cut in this year's budget.

Logas said major expenditures in next year's budget will be SMART Boards and projectors for classrooms, two instructional technology teachers to help teachers integrate such technology into their classrooms and $100,000 worth of new equipment for shop and auto areas of Central High School.

He expects major expenditures the year after that to be another $100,000 worth of shop and auto equipment at Central, laptops for students, budgeted for $1.5 million but subject to discussion and study in the meantime. He also expects to pay $250,000 worth of professional development for incorporating technology into classrooms, as well as three more instructional technology teachers.

Logas said he'll submit a final budget for approval in September.

In other business:

— The school board approved a contract with BLDD Architects for $55,600 for design fees for renovations to the College and Career Centers at Central and Centennial high schools. As much as $5,000 of those fees may be refundable. The fees, as well as the project itself, will be paid for with money from the school facilities sales tax. The renovations are budgeted to cost $460,000.

— The board also approved, 6-0, the reduction in force for 14 staff members whose positions are paid for by unsecured grants or funds.

Those programs include Early Childhood, the alternative truant program and Operation Hope.

Many times, those employees are rehired if the money for their positions becomes available.

More reductions in force for certified staff members will be on the school board's next meeting agenda, said Superintendent Judy Wiegand.

— And the board voted 6-0 to accept a $3,000 contract with Head Start to reserve the right to lease the school district's former Family Information Center building at the former Marquette School until July. Head Start is expected to start leasing the building then. The contract means the school district agrees not to lease or sell the building before then.

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