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District 94 won't cut teachers
By Anna Madrzyk | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/29/20 12:01 AM

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A check for $170,000 in impact fees from Winfield arrived just in the nick of time for West Chicago Community High School District 94.

The money saved three of the four teaching positions the school board was considering cutting this week due to a budget shortfall. The positions are in math/science, English and social studies.

The fourth teaching position on the list is in special education, but it won't be cut either. "We will find funding to cover (that position)," Superintendent Lalo Ponce said Thursday.

The extra cash is welcome in a district that had been facing $776,000 in budget cuts, but it's not a cure-all, Ponce said. School officials knew it was coming, but not when.

"We just happened to get an infusion of money," Ponce said, "but that is just a small part of the big picture. The big picture is still bleak."

At a meeting attended by more than 100 people - including students, parents, teachers and community members - the school board voted this week to eliminate an assistant principal, a division head and two clerical positions.

The board also agreed to save $118,000 by eliminating advisory, a 22-minute period in the school day that focuses on study skills, organizational skills and team building. Teachers are paid a $1,000 stipend for advisory.

The extra minutes will be spread over the school day, Ponce said.

The high school will lose 2.6 teaching positions next year that were paid for by federal stimulus funds.

The board agreed to wait until March on proposed cutbacks in student activities, including elimination of the winter play, intramurals and the literary magazine. Students from the newspaper staff asked the board to reconsider the proposal to cut the number of papers printed.

The school board on Feb. 2 will consider the proposal to reduce the number of students who attend the Technology Center of DuPage for career training. Administrators first recommended slashing enrollment from 70 to 35, but now suggest cutting back only to 50. District 94 pays $5,000 per student.

"We believe we can include those that are keenly interested in attending," Ponce said.