BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- Big changes could be heading to the Belvidere School District as it tries to cut down a $26 million budget deficit over the next five years.
More than a hundred people turned out to Belvidere North High School for tonight's school board meeting, to voice their opinions on some community proposals to eliminate that deficit.
Parents listened to some controversial ideas which include elementary and middle school closures. There's also talk about moving grade levels to different buildings, for example putting seventh and eighth grades in the high schools.
Another option is to consolidate Belvidere North and Belvidere High School. There could also be fee increases and more than 50 school positions eliminated. Some board members, students and parents say the district is moving too fast.
"I think there's a lot of ways we can cut, you need to look line by line and I don't think we've had enough time to do that yet, so before we make drastic cuts, we need to make sure all the small cuts have already been made," said Kishwaukee Elementary PTO President Holly Houk.
Community members will have another chance to speak to the board about the ideas presented tonight, at a special meeting on February 4th. It will be held at 6 p.m. at Belvidere North High School.
Administrators will then make a recommendation two weeks later and the community will have a chance to respond to that recommendation, on March 4th, also at Belvidere North High School.
The board is expected to vote on the changes at its March 18th school board meeting.
To view all suggestions and scenarios, including school closures and grade level changes, click the link below listed under Related Links.