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Decision on Lincoln Elementary School 'A piece of the bigger picture'

Board might decide Lincoln Elementary School’s fate tonight

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 3:02 p.m. CDT

DIXON – The fate of Lincoln Elementary School could be decided tonight.

The Dixon school board is set to vote on a proposal to close Lincoln, effective for the 2014-15 academic year, and move the second- and third-grade students to another building.

The decision will be made in an effort to address the district’s $1.5 million deficit in the education fund for the 2013-14 school year, which leaves a fund balance of $1.4 million.

The education fund is the largest in the school district, paying for teachers’ salaries and educational programs, among other expenses.

The possibility of closing Lincoln was first presented to the board during its October meeting, but it had been privately discussed within the district for about a year leading up to that.

During the November school board meeting, Superintendent Michael Juenger presented the board with five options – all of which included closing Lincoln – to get the district to a balanced budget by 2017. The options contained different levels of layoffs and cuts to various school funds.

Closing Lincoln would save the school district about $246,000 a year in the education fund and $70,000 in the operations and maintenance fund, according to Juenger’s proposal.

Each of the five options presented to the school board also included three retiring teachers, who won’t be replaced, in 2015 and 2016.

The most aggressive of the five options included eight layoffs for 2015 fiscal year and six for 2016, reducing the deficit to $719,249 and $200,647, respectively.

A decision on the five options – or some variation – won’t be made tonight, Juenger said, adding that he met with some teachers Monday to discuss possibilities to balance the budget and that closing Lincoln is “a piece of the bigger picture.”

If Lincoln closes, second- and third-grade students will move to Jefferson Elementary School, while fourth- and fifth-grade students at Jefferson would be housed at Reagan Middle School, according to Juenger’s proposal.

Pre-kindergarten and early childhood programs at Reagan would transfer to Washington Elementary School, which still would house kindergarten and first grades under the plan.

During a public meeting in late October, residents and parents raised concerns about overcrowding, diminished education for the students, and mixing the second- and third-grade students with the fourth- and fifth-grade students.

To attend

The Dixon Board of Education meets at 6:30 p.m. today at Dixon High School, 300 Lincoln Statue Drive, in the auditorium.

Go to www.DixonSchools.org or call the school district's central office at 815-284-7722 for an agenda or more information.

 

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