Divided M-R Board Approves School Closures
Monmouth, IL – The Monmouth-Roseville school board was clearly divided as it narrowly approved Superintendent Paul Woehlke's deficit elimination plan on Tuesday. The plan, conceived through dozens of committee meetings over the last couple of months, was approved by a 4-3 vote.
That means Roseville and Willits elementary schools will close after this year.
Roseville Elementary principal Debbra Martin says her students are well aware of what's been discussed over the past couple of months. She's not surprised by the decision, but she says it makes her sad to see her students upset.
"There's a lot of anxiety," says Martin. "You know, it's a very sad time for them. Most of these kids have been together all the way through, and certainly our older students have been together from pre-Kindergarten on. They're very... sad."
Roseville's K-1 students will move to Lincoln, 2nd and 3rd graders will move to Harding, and 4th through 6th graders will go to Central.
Martin says Woehlke made the only decision he could have given the current budget situation. Closing the two elementary schools will save roughly $330,000, which will eliminate the district's long-standing structural deficit.
The approved plan cuts $1.5 million from the budget, and accounts for a potential 9% cut in state aid to public education. Woehlke says he doesn't know if that will be enough, because the governor has mentioned education cuts as high as 14%. In that scenario, the Monmouth-Roseville school district would need to cut $2 million.
Woehlke says he "has no clue" where the extra $500,000 would come from.
A reduction in force hearing will be held later this month. Woehlke says he's not sure how many jobs will be cut at this point. School closures, other budget reduction items, and the state budget will determine that.