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Public responds to Idaho Falls School District 91 budget cuts

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Budget cuts were a contentious topic at Idaho Falls School District 91's school board meeting on Wednesday.

The district overspent $4 million last year, which means they need to make cuts for next year. That includes eliminating several administrative and clerical positions. Administrators at the district office suggested which cuts could be made.

Now it's up to the school board to decide what cuts will be made. Most people in attendance voiced opposition to the cuts.

"I don't know a single staff member, certified or classified, that isn't concerned about job security since the moment that the district said that they were 4 million over budget and incorrectly blame was placed on the excess of faculty," District 91 staff member Jerrica Hardy said. "I'm not sure how we can have an overpopulated school and many complaints of student behavior, and then also look at reducing staff to help with those concerns."

"Increasing grad rates is a task we all take on. How will that happen if we cut the people essential to that task," asked Jessica Rosenmai.

"Our level of customer service to our patrons will decrease just by means of having less people in the offices," said Lisa Pinkham.

More than a dozen people got to share their opinions of the proposed cuts.

Many said they were against the proposed budget and job cuts. Some expressed their frustration of feeling unheard by the school board.

"What I didn't hear in those meetings was we listened to what the community wanted," Julie Nawrocki said.

Paul Haacke, District 91 trustee said he did not want the board to have to make cuts, but if they didn't, finances would become worse down the road.

"We really needed to address the budget issues, because if we would not have addressed the budget issues, this district would have been bankrupt in 1 or 2 years," Haacke said.

By the end of the six-hour meeting, some adjustments were made to the proposed budget.

The school board lowered the budget reductions by about six hundred thousand dollars.

"Some of the things that the board focused on were counselors, assistant principals, I-ready, which is a math program for the elementary schools," Haacke said. "We wanted to see some more help in those areas. So we reduced some of the cuts in those areas and kept them in the budget."

Haacke says many final decisions on who and what gets cut will be decided by each school's principals and leaders.

"They'll consult with our superintendent and decide, which positions they want to retain and, and which they will let go. And then they'll have that discussion with those individuals," Haacke said.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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Noah Farley

Noah is a reporter for Local News 8.


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