Parents Petition Against School Closures

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BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- Dozens of parents are upset with the Belvidere School District as it considers several school closures to avoid as much as a $28 million budget deficit. Parents will gather tonight at a frozen yogurt shop in Belvidere to sign petitions. So far, they have about 2,000 signatures. They're asking the district to slow down and to not close schools next year. The district is predicting at least a $26 million budget deficit over the next five years. There are several community options to reduce that deficit. There are talks of closing elementary and middle schools and shifting grades into different buildings. One of the options is to put kindergarten through eighth grade in one building. Another option is to consolidate Belvidere north and Belvidere High School. Superintendent Michael Houselog says none of these suggestions are final.

"Why would we want to be putting out a recommendation at this point, when we're still listening to people and while we hear a lot of people tell us, slow down, I hear a lot of people saying it's really important to get the spending and the cuts under control,” said Superintendent Houselog.

Parents can head out to DIYogurt until 7:00 tonight. They'll also have a chance to voice their concerns at Monday night's board meeting, that starts at 6:00 at Belvidere North. School administrators will make their recommendation on February 18. The community will then have a chance to respond to that recommendation. The board is expected to make a final decision on March 18.

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