Budget Talk: Bob Hill On Challenges Facing District 186
Dozens of District 186 employees will be without a job come the end of the school year. A week ago the interim superintendent, Bob Hill, suggested cutting teaching jobs at all levels. On Tuesday he came to the board with further cuts, including in technology and special education.
Springfield public schools may be without what many consider to be integral technology positions next school year. Karen Thompson has been working for the district as its instructional technology facilitator since 1993. She helps teachers utilize tech in the classroom, for instance over-seeing an iPad program in elementary schools. The district webmaster’s job was also targeted for elimination. Thompson protested the cuts: “Cost of a laptop per student per year today, might be roughly $200. Cost of teacher and student training, it’s pretty expensive. But the cost of a well-integrated system where technology improves instruction ... That I tell you is priceless.”
Hill admits making the suggestions isn't easy. "I must say this is the most unpleasant task ... It's a traumatic thing in the lives of people - to lose their jobs," Hill told the Springfield school board and members of the public. The district has been trying to shore up its budget as a deficit was projected for next year. The board unanimously passed the suggested cuts on Tuesday for a savings of about $5.5 million dollars. It's possible some of the jobs will be reinstated after a clearer picture of state funding comes into view later this year. You can see a list of the cuts here.