It's official, Belvidere sports and after school arts programs are out, at least for now.
The battle ground at Belvidere Central Middle School is empty, leaving behind 2.3 million dollars worth of dead programs but also hope that they're not gone for good.
Dozens of community members spoke out in passionate defense of their favorite programs there were some victories. Elementary special ed teachers and computer aids will stay and the average class size will not increase.
Still, a well-rounded education hangs in the balance here. Everyone's hoping for an April referendum, if that fails, athletic, clubs, and after school arts are gone.
There was anger tonight against board members and especially Superintendent Don schlomann, for not preparing fully for the district's growth. Still the focus is on moving forward.
The next step is to work on the April referendum, a Vision 100 Co-Chair says they will try and come up with a plan that asks for the least money possible to balance the budget and open Belvidere North High School. That would be a 35-cent tax increase. The money would kick in in June 2008 and the board would deficit spend until then.
The cuts will only go into effect if the April referendum fails. Half a million dollars in defecit spending are included in this plan, to bring the total to 2.8 million dollars.