Schools: Committee to hear more on budget tonight, sports forums begin at East High
Although there is no regular meeting of the Rockford Board of Education tonight (April 19), the Finance and Operations Committee is scheduled to receive budget updates.
Chief Financial Officer Cedric Lewis is slated to update the committee on how the administration is preparing for fiscal 2012.
The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m., at the Administration Building.
Lewis and outgoing Superintendent Dr. LaVonne Sheffield have been under fire since presenting the school board with a $50 million budget deficit for fiscal 2012, which begins July 1.
Much of the controversy came after the Rockford Education Association, the local teacher’s union, called for an independent review of the figures officials used to calculate the shortfall.
The union claimed the budget was incorrect and was more along the lines of $15 million.
After reviewing a portion of the budget, consulting firm Baker Tilly reported that the district could receive a not-allotted-for state subsidy of more than $23 million next year.
However, Lewis and Sheffield continue to claim the revenue was not included in next year’s projections because of a dismal financial outlook in Springfield.
Sheffield has resigned from the district and will officially depart April 30.
Meantime, the public is invited to give input tonight at one of three forums aimed at shedding light on proposed changes to the district’s athletic program. Last week, officials presented a plan that would turn the program into a tiered system.
Under the proposed plan, sports that generate the most revenue for the district (football and basketball) would remain intact. Others, such as baseball, softball, swimming and golf, would not be offered on the freshman level in hopes of saving the district approximately $660,000.
The administration has also proposed firing all athletic directors, delegating their duties to assistant principals. According to officials, District 205 spends approximately $3 million annually on its sports program.
Tuesday’s forum is at 6 p.m. at East High School.The two remaining sessions will be at Jefferson High School Monday, April 25, and Thursday, April 28, at Guilford.
The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26. The meeting will mark the first for three new school board members. The meeting will be held at Ellis Arts Academy, 222 S. Central Avenue.
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