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Schaumburg Dist. 54 may cut 130 positions
By Eric Peterson | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 3/19/2010 3:28 PM

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Employees in about 130 positions in Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 received notices of potential layoffs Friday.

The possible elimination of 129.5 full-time positions is being triggered largely by issues of state funding, but a long-term decline in enrollment and a planned restructuring of the district's bilingual teaching program are also contributing factors.

District spokeswoman Terri McHugh said the number of eliminated positions doesn't necessarily translate into the number of people who may lose their jobs. Retirements and other voluntary departures from the district may decrease the number of layoffs required. Officials already know of 40 confirmed retirements.

The positions currently marked for elimination include 7 classroom teachers, 7 special education teachers, 1.5 administrative positions, 58 bilingual assistants, 14 early childhood teachers, 23 early childhood assistants, 7 Title I teachers who focus largely on reading improvement, 9 Title I instructional assistants, an art teacher, two music teachers and a physical education teacher.

The reason so many bilingual assistants are among the eliminated positions is that the coming restructuring of the curriculum will move bilingual teachers out of their own classrooms and into regular classrooms. This eliminates the need for their own assistants, McHugh said.

District 54 receives state funding in three particular areas that the state Board of Education has advised assuming no further funding for next year.

This year, District 54 received $1 million for bilingual education, $2.2 million for early childhood education and $550,000 for reading improvement.

The district also received $1 million in federal economic stimulus money this year for Title I literacy education that was always known to be a one-time-only payment, McHugh said.

The true impact of the funding cuts on District 54 won't be known, however, until the state finalizes its budget and the district knows more about its total number of retirements and next year's enrollment.

The district has long had a reputation as one of the most financially sound in the region, but the uncertainty of payments from the state is a problem affecting everyone, McHugh said.

"We think we've done our part to hold the line on spending," she said." "We can control our spending, but we can't control our revenues coming from the state and federal governments."

District 54 operates 27 schools in the communities of Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Hanover Park, Elk Grove Village and Roselle.