The Rockford School District has begun trimming its teaching staff. Three hundred forty-nine teachers and support staff were issued pink slips Wednesday.
These cuts will eliminate 16 percent of the teaching force in the district. The president of the Rockford teacher's union says these cuts were unnecessary.
"What's most disturbing to me is that these cuts did not have to go nearly as deep as they did," said Molly Phalen.
Phalen says while the board needs to balance the budget, they could have done it over a longer period of time, which would've meant fewer cuts.
"There are bilingual, elementary, middle school, high school - I doubt there's a building in this district that's not being effected by these cuts," said Phalen.
Board President Mike Williams says he realizes how serious these cuts are, but he says the district's financial situation is serious as well.
"We really don't have much of a choice considering the financial situation we're in. We're on the state's financial watch list for the first time ever," said Williams.
Some school board members have left open the possibility that some employees could be hired back if the district's financial situation improves. But by then, Phalen says it'll be too late.
"By the time the district gets around to realizing we've lost some really good people, it'll be to late because they'll have found another job in another district," said Phalen.