D202 expects further cuts for 2006-07 school year

Lensay Abadula

Budget cuts, which will amount to about $2 million for the 2006-07 school year, will continue to be a major issue for the new District 202 School Board, board members said this week.

Newly-elected candidate Missy Fleming and write-in candidate Rachel Hayman will join re-elected members Martha Burns and Margaret Lurie on the new board, which will begin discussion on the cuts next month.

District 202 serves Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave.

Last month, school board members approved budget cuts of more than $1.5 million effective for the 2005-06 school year. The cuts will affect athletic programs and extracurricular activities.

Cuts for 2006-07 could include teacher lay-offs, said current board member Jane Colleton.

Budget cuts are necessary partly because the state restricts the amount of tax money allocated to the district, board members said.

“Every cut will take a toll,” Hayman said. “We need to listen very, very carefully to the evidence of what the consequences will be to our students.”

Hayman said she hopes the board can look at alternative sources of money for the district. Parents and board members should try lobbying the state for more money, she said.

Hayman also said she would support more cooperation between District 202 and Evanston/Skokie School District 65, including buying products in bulk to save money.

“It makes sense to me,” Hayman said. “We receive their students, so I think that’s an area that could be improved.”

State tax caps restrict the amount of money the district can use for education expenses, Colleton said.

“There is a budget shortfall because we are not getting as much money from taxes as conforms to our budgetary needs,” Colleton said.

Colleton said the district could employ a referendum asking taxpayers for more money to serve ETHS.

The new board will be sworn in later this month. Board President Steve Gilford and current board member Willie J. Miller Jr. did not run for a second term.

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