Belvidere Parents Talk About School District's Budget Battle

BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- The Belvidere School Board faces some tough choices to dig the district out of a $45 million hole over the next five years.

One group of parents, including some running for school board seats this April, want the district to explore other money saving options that wouldn't mean the closing of a high school.

Thursday night was the third and final meeting hosted by Lee Baird and a few other parents. It was an opportunity for parents to brainstorm ideas, such as switching around what grades are in a building together and ending the STEM Program at Washington Academy.

The board has discussed closing several schools, including Belvidere high school and combining the two high schools' athletic programs. For a few, that proposal is far from ideal.

"Overwhelming the parents think it needs to be maintain at two high schools and i think from the he student population I've interacted with overwhelmingly they want they're identity to maintain," Baird said.

Baird plans to hand over all the parent input he's received to the administration. The parent proposals save between $4-$5 million each year. The board's options that include only one high school save between $5-$6 million.

The current sitting school board will have to decide before March if teachers would be laid off.

Budget options that have been suggested by community and board members will be discussed over the next few months. The Administration has not made any recommendations and the board will not vote on any budget reduction suggestions until its March 18 meeting at the earliest.

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