District 34 reviews budget cuts, vows to revisit impact
Size of class selections for fall 2012
Updated: February 25, 2013 11:11AM
GLENVIEW — Student discipline referrals at Attea and Springman middle schools in Glenview widely differed from last year so far, according to a report on the impact of significant budget cuts to campus safety and education performance.
The report was released Jan. 14 to the District 34 School Board that decided in April 2012 permanently to cut $1.8 million in spending.
“We will continue to look back at these decisions,” said Superintendent Michael Nicholson.
The strategy is to chip away at an $11 million deficit by 2016.
Part of the budget reductions this year was removing a Glenview police officer from both middle schools for a $65,000 savings.
Instead, the district replaced the officers with tenured teachers on assignment, who are certified as teachers and administrators and have five years teaching experience.
The report stated Attea had 175 student discipline cases in 2011, compared to 270 this year.
Attea principal Jim Woell said student infractions were reported more consistently this year.
“Data used to be collected by one person. Now the whole staff does this,” he said.
“If we look at this data at the end of the year, we could get a better picture if this idea is working.”
At Springman, the count was 315 in 2011 and 259 this year.
Heather Hopkins, principal at Springman, said her staff was more proactive this year in stopping problems before they happen.
After the meeting, district spokesman Brett Clark added entire staffs — teachers and their aids, custodians, lunchroom workers — now have a role in watching over students.
“We make sure they have good connections with our kids,” he said.
Clark also explained teachers on assignment were trained as educators to notice potential student problems, as well working with staff members on developing the same awareness.
In a budget increase of $232,800, the district raised the number of school psychologist positions for grades kindergarten through fifth.
For staff reductions, the spending cuts eliminated 14, including 2 certified staff positions and five non-certified positions, thus saving $883,000.
In grades kindergarten through eighth, classroom size increased by one student.
Tied to classroom size and reduced staffing, middle school grade distribution was a B+ at both middle schools this year and last, but its frequency was higher this year.
“By looking at the frequency of A’s and B’s across both 1st Trimesters, we see that there is no evidence from these data that student learning has been negatively impacted by the decrease in staffing,” stated Arturo Abrego, assistant superintendent for student services in the report.
“This was just the initial look at staffing and class size,” Clark said.
“Now we have some preliminary data, but we keep looking over it.”
The budget strategy also decreased transportation funding by $77,000.
“I think what our plan is doing stretches money farther. For example, instead of one class going on a trip, the whole grade level might go,” Clark said.