Board votes to cut jobs in Galesburg School District

Administration says the Illinois budget impasse is causing uncertainty

GALESBURG, Ill. - Tight finances had  the Galesburg school board making tough decisions at their Monday night meeting.  Administrators say no state budget in Illinois leaves them no choice but to get rid of jobs. 
 
The Galesburg school district had to choose whether or not to cut jobs for the second year in a row. Something Superintendent Ralph Grimm says is mainly the result of the budget battle in Springfield. 
 
"We're in this perpetual situation where the revenue that we anticipate from the state's not coming in, and we have to at some point in time, get to a balanced budget," Grimm said. 
 
Grimm says the state currently owes Galesburg School District more than $8 million. Not knowing when the state will pass a budget has made it hard for the school district to operate, so the district is proposing to cut jobs from seven different departments. 
 
The proposals include reorganizing the school health services, reducing ten elementary teachers, adding assistant principals for outreach at the elementary level, reducing library staff, getting rid of the Galesburg High School security officers, eliminating the summer driver's education courses, and placing tentative cuts at Bright Futures Preschool.  Nine community members spoke out against the cuts. 
 
The Galesburg Education Association president David Sharp told us he hoped the board would wait to make cuts. He says the state could pass a budget soon, and he worries cuts are being made prematurely. Plus, schools are already working with reduced staff.  
 
"Any time you take away a teaching position, you take the duties of that person and then place them on somebody else. and at the present time, we have already been overloaded with numerous things from the budget cuts that were made last year," Sharp said. 
 
After hours of heated discussion, the board ended up voting to cut health services positions, ten teacher positions,  library staff, and summer drivers education courses. The board also agreed that unless a budget is passed, cuts will need to be made from Bright Futures Preschool. 

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