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Readers React to District 112 Budget Cuts

Opinions fly about dual language classes and class sizes. What's your take?

Last week, the including teachers and teacher's assistants, in order to trim $2.65 million from its 2013 budget.

"The choices are difficult, the decisions are hard," District 112 Superintendent David Behlow said shortly before the vote. "We look at every child as a child, not as a number."

, filling the article with over 50 comments by Sunday night. Many were concerned with the consequences of making cuts to the district's dual language programs. The district set aside $270,000 to fill the gap left by the removal of 16 of the dual-language and bilingual program’s teaching-assistant positions. 

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"I understand that cuts have to be made and it is unfortunate that the District couldn't figure out how to keep language in all the elementary schools," wrote . "Other nearby districts, including Lake Forest for example, have figured this out and do offer non-DL elementary school programs. Until District 112 can do this, I don't think we can consider our schools to be truly 'world class' as defined in the District's mission statement."

Onetime Park District board candidate sympathized with Jenks' concerns, but suggested cuts needed to be made somewhere and the dual language programs might be the right place to start.

"There is simply not enough money to fund all programs and thus decisions need to be made as to what to cut," Barbieri wrote. "Most parents, if faced with a menu of items that had to be cut as a financial reality, would find dual language rising to the top as it is a nice extra but certainly not a must have."

Barbieri pointed out that since the board decided to keep the fourth grade class size at Braeside at 16 or 17 rather than 25, cuts needed to be made elsewhere.

suggested that if dual language classes get removed entirely, "the PTA/PTOs should find a way to offer them as an After School Club."

Other readers suggested consolidating some of the schools or increasing class sizes as a way for the district to save money.

"A capable teacher can cope with a classroom of almost any size," wrote a reader named Molly, qualifying that by also writing, "Some continuity would benefit the entire population."

What do you think? Read the and the here, then leave your own below. And don't forget to take Patch's poll about District 112 spending. Polling will remain open until Friday at 9 a.m. and results will be posted later that day.

Editor's note: Have an opinion on District 112's budget or anything else education-themed? Patch is looking for Highland Park residents interested in blogging about school issues. If you're interested, please email jacob@patch.com or call 847-204-1636.

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Kathy April 20, 2012 at 02:34 PM
J.B.- that part of Highland Park was annexed to D109 about 15 years ago. I'm not sure why, but I can find out. It was the beginning of the decline of enrollment at Red Oak. Keep in mind that Red Oak was not intended to be an elementary school, it was a middle school when it was built.
Kathy April 20, 2012 at 02:39 PM
I think that we need to follow basic expectations for civil discourse and allow for all opinions in without exclusion. No one should be asked to "butt out." Name calling is not appropriate either. Please remember that this is a very public forum and how you conduct yourself is visible to everyone. I think that offering possible solutions to the budget issues is where the focus should remain.
Larry Jones April 20, 2012 at 03:45 PM
J.B That is the crux of the problem. We want the kids who live in the neighborhood to go to the schools in their neigborhoods so they can grow up with each other and develop meaningful long term relationships. This cant happen when kids are bussed in one year and gone the next. I cant see where anyone would have a problem with this
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther April 20, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Lee: The problem is that there is not enough neighborhood population to justify operating Red Oak and Sherwood with the same grade configurations. Bussing children fron, say High Ridge, just creates the same issue as bussing any child. The northern schools are near capacity. It just isn't that simple.
Amy April 21, 2012 at 10:37 PM
AJ - please clarify something for me. Why do your children go to Oak Terrace rather than Sherwood when you live in the Indian Trail area? And, why do Denise Tiemeyer's children go to Oak Terrace instead of Red Oak when they live in the Braeside area? Wouldn't it be nice if we all had the choice to arbitrarily decide which schools our kids should attend?

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