District 308: Budget cuts needed to avoid referendum

By Erika Wurst For Chronicle Media

Teachers and parents will have to expect larger class sizes beginning with the 2018-19 school year under proposed budget reductions by the Community Unit School District 308. (Photo courtesy of CUSD 308)

Oswego Community Unit School District Board members have reviewed and proposed a budget plan that reduces its expenses by more than $7 million, in a move they called “the right thing to do”.

“The goal of this board is to take the responsible path to fiscal stability while preserving services that directly impact our students in the classroom,” Board President Brad Banks told residents in a district memo.

The cuts include increased registration and activity fees, driver’s education fees, and parking fees, as well as a reduction of staff and increased class sizes. When all was said and done, 13 revenue increases and 37 cuts or reductions were put in place.

Rather than reduce the budget, the far easier choice would be to seek an operating referendum and emulate the ‘tax and spend’ system used at the state and federal levels, said Banks.

“This will not happen on my watch as board president, nor with the members of this sitting board,” he said. “We’ve been elected to make the best educational choices possible with the resources we have available.”

The district lost more than $21.5 million due to the proration of General State Aid from 2011-2016 and $49 million from unpaid capital grants.

“Had this funding come to our district, we wouldn’t be having the conversation we are having right now,” Banks said.

For the 2018-19 school year, the district predicts it will face a deficit of $3 million. This deficit would grow by an additional $1.4 million each year to an annual deficit of $8.8 million by the 2022-23 school year if reductions and cuts were not instated.

The district reached out to its families and residents during a series of public meetings and forums to gather suggestions about cuts and the wants of those they serve.

Students taking summer school in Community Unit School District 308 would no longer count on free transportation as the district looks to cut the service. Other transportation savings will come from adjusting school schedules. (Photo courtesy of CUSD 308)

An initial goal of $8 million in cuts and reductions was put in place. In the end, $7,063,270 in savings were approved.

The changes include increased class sizes and the elimination of 16 full-time equivalent elementary teachers.

“Every service provided by our school district is important to someone. Every family has something — a program or service — that is of value to them, and each decision we make is going to impact our students on some level,” Banks said. “We are all going to feel this.”



Increase student registration fees – $718,616


Increase all-day kindergarten fee to $300 per student – $52,450


Increase athletic fees at junior highs from current fee of $40 per student per sport to $80 per student per sport with no monetary limit – $61,040


Increase athletic fees to $300 per student per sport with no monetary limit – $532,875


Charge students a club fee of $25 – $132,500


Charge K-5 students an activity fee of $35 – $104,000


Charge 6-8 students an activity fee of $35 – $59,000


Charge 9-12 students an activity fee of $65 – $142,000


Increase Brokaw tuition fee – $25,200


Increase driver’s education fees from $250 to $400 per student – $139,800


Raise building rental fees – $70,000


Increase student parking fees from $50 a year to $100 – $64,700


Charge a fee for additional tickets to high school graduation ceremonies held at NIU – $24,000

Community Unit School District 308 students at all grade levels who want to participate in activities will be looking at paying a fee beginning with the 2018-19 school year. Additionally, some activities will be cutback. (Photo courtesy of CUSD 308)




Additional department budget reductions – $35,000


Move Math/ELA TOSA positions to Title 1 only – $78,000


Shift K-8 English Learner district TOSA to Title 1 and 3 – $65,000


Eliminate free summer school transportation – $38,000


Custodial reductions at O3C/Old Traughber (1.5 FTE) – $54,400


Reduce annual operation costs at O3C/Old Traughber – $139,000


Elimination of Asst. Director of Operations position (partial) – $31,000


Eliminate non-grant-funded out-of-state travel – $25,000


Reduce transportation costs by redoing bell schedules at elementary and junior high levels – $135,000


Minimize the use of substitutes for professional development work – $60,000


Minimize the use of substitutes and stipends for curriculum work – $60,000


Reduce the allocation per student allocated to schools by $10 per student – $180,000


Reduction of DAC support staff – $350,000


Discontinue Mastery Connect at junior high and high school levels – $45,000


Eliminate STAR assessment at grades 9 and 10 – $40,000

Eliminate Convocation at Oswego East – $16,573



Staffing Scenario 1: Teachers 2018-19 elementary reduction due to decrease in enrollment (16 full-time equivalents) – $1,040,000

(In addition to above) Staffing Scenario 2: Increase the class size divisor used to create sections in K-2 from 25 to 28, and in 3-5 from 28 to 30 (12 FTE) – $780,000

2018-19 elementary reduction of general ed teaching assistants due to decreases in enrollment (3 FTE) – $105,000

Restructured Gifted Education Model 3 (6.5 FTE) – $422,500



Increase the class size divisor used to create sections from 30 to 32 for core and world languages (2 FTE) – $130,000

Library Media Staffing Scenario 3, Elimination of library media assistants (5 FTE) – $175,000

Discontinue TR/MU activity bus – $20,000

Eliminate AVID elective in grades 6 and 7 (1 FTE) – $65,000

Discontinue participation in optional invitationals/meets outside of the district – $15,000



Increase the high school class size divisor used to create sections from 30 to 32 for core and world languages (2 FTE) – $130,000

High school bowling shuttles for PE classes/Discontinue bowling alley portion of PE program – $122,000

Alternate years of select elective course offerings (2 FTE) – $130,000


Eliminate after-school activity buses – $84,000


Discontinue paying for optional National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test – PSAT/NMSQT (Related sub costs and table rentals included) – $25,000


Partial reduction of high school dean’s assistant position (1 FTE at each high school) – $70,000


Ten percent reduction in high school athletic budgets – $45,000


Reductions subject to MOU with Oswego Education Association:


Reduce elementary intramural stipends by 50 percent – $70,000


Reduce junior high intramural stipends by 50 percent – $25,000


Reduce high school intramural stipends by 50 percent – $9,500


Reduce by one the number of high school Library Media Center department chairs – $7,116


Reduce the overall high school athletic stipend allocation by 10 percent – $115,000




—- District 308: Budget cuts needed to avoid referendum . —-