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District 46 set to cut teaching positions

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 11:18 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 11:19 p.m. CDT

PRAIRIE GROVE – District 46 will make some staff cuts next year as it adjusts to declining enrollment, its superintendent said.

With three retirements planned, however, the district should not need to lay off any teachers, Superintendent Lynette Zimmer said.

The staffing considerations are based off preliminary numbers and could change as registration numbers solidify, school board President Margaret Ponga said.

Of the retiring teachers, two – a reading specialist and an elementary teacher – will not be replaced, but a special education teacher will added at the junior high level, resulting in the overall elimination of what equates to 1.2 full-time teaching positions, Zimmer said.

A retiring junior high science teacher will be replaced, Ponga said.

Declining enrollment also reopened talks about consolidation for the two-school district, but any steps forward have hit some roadblocks.

Ponga spoke with the Illinois State Board of Education about funding for a feasibility study, but there isn’t any funding in this budget cycle, she said. The state board is trying to get some for next year.

District 47 in neighboring Crystal Lake – one of the likely candidates for District 46 to be consolidated with – also was approached and its officials weren’t interested, Ponga said.

“We’re looking at this as at least a two-year endeavor,” she said.

Enrollment has dropped nearly 22 percent since reaching a peak of 1,055 students at the beginning of the 2006-07 school year, according to data submitted to the Illinois State Board of Education.

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