Belleville District 118 lays off 25 staff members

News-DemocratMarch 19, 2014 

Belleville School District 118 Superintendent Matt Klosterman.

ZIA NIZAMI/BND

The Belleville School District 118 school board unanimously approved the honorable dismissals of one full-time teacher and 24 teaching assistants at its meeting Tuesday night.

Superintendent Matt Klosterman said the district's enrollment is holding steady, and he anticipates staffing needs next school year to be similar to this school year.

"We are not in a situation where we are eliminating program options for kids," he said. "If we have students that require staff to teach them, we have to have the staff to teach them."

The teacher and teaching assistants may be hired back by the district later this year depending on funding and student enrollment, according to Klosterman.

District 118 also has three teachers and two teaching assistants retiring at the end of this school.

"If we don't replace any of the positions we have released, the savings would be just under $580,000," Klosterman said.

Like other public school districts in Illinois, District 118 is currently owed $1.1 million by the state.

In other news, school board members approved spending $200,000 on technology. Klosterman said the funding for the new technology will come from a "variety" of sources including the District 118 Foundation, other donations and federal and local money.

The $200,000 will be used to purchase 15 to 18 electronic whiteboards for classrooms, computers for labs at schools throughout the district and additional Google Chromebooks -- a type of netbook.

Klosterman said these upgrades will allow the district to be ready for the new entirely online state assessment test next school year.

To upgrade computer labs at every school, he said the district will be purchasing refurbished computers rather than brand new ones. "We are paying significantly less per computer," Klosterman said.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.

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