About 46 support personnel, including library aides, could have been let go Tuesday night but weren't. Instead it was a different Rockford school board meeting because at the beginning of the meeting the audience found out that Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson had elective surgery for a heart murmur. He's in good condition. The board also made a move that no one was expecting.
The decision to fire 46 paraprofessionals has been postponed. Librarians made sure board members could read their concerns. 1,139 petitions were presented to board members opposing the cuts. One librarian says the move would mean district libraries will have to be closed for over 200 class periods.
In the end the decision to eliminate any positions will wait another 2 weeks. Board members were also updated on the FY-06 budget. The district is getting a lot more revenue than anticipated from property and corporate taxes. But expenses have also increased.
Librarians hope that board members see there is the possibility to find $239,000. That's the magic number that would keep 25 library aides employed after the district lost 5 million dollars in federal funding.
Pat Webner, a Dennis librarian says, "You know they had that $6 million surplus maybe they have some wiggle room for us but we all don't know and we are really surprised."
Chief Academic Officer, Martha Hayes said after the meeting, "They could be related remember these are projections and we get to the point where we have to make decision before projections come to be reality. I really can't answer that we're just going to have to look at this with the board and see exactly we want to make best decision we can.”
There really is no time-frame in regards to this decision. Para's just want to know but legally the board only has to give notice 30 days before school starts in the fall. The board also voted on positions. Nancy Kalchbrenner will stay on as President. Jay Nellis is Vice-President and David Kelley is Secretary.