Parents Upset with Forrestville Valley School District Budget Cuts

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FORRESTON (WIFR) -- Another Stateline school district is the victim of late state payments, which is causing a multi-million dollar budget deficit and some parents are upset with how the district is handling the cuts.

More than a hundred community members and parents packed inside the gym at Forreston High School tonight to address the school board in a public hearing. One community member scorned the school board saying they should be "ashamed of themselves" for how they handled teacher layoffs at the last meeting, when six teachers were publicly dismissed.

"The teachers names out in the open forum and then you could hear crying immediately because it didn't look like the teachers knew that they were being RIF'd (Reduction in Force)," said parent Michael Ryia.

But Superintendent Lowell Taylor says teachers were notified.

He said, "Teachers were involved in every review along the way that required them to sign off by actually voting yay or nay, and signing their name to a sequence of honorable dismissal and there were no surprises in our staff."

Some of the layoffs are to help reduce a $3 million deficit. More savings will comes as the district combines grades 3-5 by moving students from German Valley Grade School to Forreston Grade School and by moving all pre-k students to German Valley Grade School.

"We're concerned about the students; we're going to have 28, give or take a few, to a class and one teacher so we're concerned on what the education is going to be for our children," said parent Tricia Reubin.

Parents say there should have been a public hearing on these changes before they were made.

The district says this deficit is due to late state payments and less general state aid. They're expecting half a million dollars less from the state for transportation next year.

Superintendent Taylor says there will be no more immediate cuts but whether they're made in the future, is hard to say. The district doesn't have to have it's official budget done until the end of September.

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