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Mon March 22, 2010
Reuschel Rips State Funding for Schools
Macomb, IL – The head of the Macomb School District says lawmakers cannot afford to wait until after the election to fix the state's budget crisis.
"We've talked about the tsunami before. It's here," says Superintendent Alene Reuschel. "The tsunami is on the beach and our little palm tree is right here ready to take a hit. I do believe we will weather that (but) we're going to come out battered and bruised."
Reuschel says this has been the worst year of her long career in education, and she's preparing for more tough times in the year ahead. She would like to see more courage from lawmakers during an election year.
"Those who stand up for children, stand up for hospitals, stand up for what's right - those are the people that I'm interested in. Those are the people who should be re-elected," says Reuschel.
"We cannot wait for an election to find out which party's going to win to determine whether or not we can do something. Do what's right. I'll back you if you're right."
Reuschel says she's willing to look closely at the idea of increasing the income tax to generate more money for the state, but she has not committed support to the idea.
During its March meeting, the school board voted 5-to-1 to release four full-time teachers and five full-time teachers. Larry Adams voted "No." Martha Klems abstained.
The board voted 7-to-0 to release two educational support employees - one full-time and one part-time.
Board member Jude Kiah called the workers friends and neighbors. He says all are honorable educators.
"An unfortunate set of circumstances has led to us having to take actions that are unpalatable," says Kiah. State law requires school districts to give notice 60 days before the end of the school year to workers who might not be brought back.
Dr Reuschel says just a couple of the job cuts are related to the budget. She says most of the employees were let go as part of a restructuring. Reuschel says one of those changes is to the pre-kindergarten program. As a result, the district might need teachers with different qualifications than those let go.
Reuschel says the district will have 140 full-time teachers next school year. Right now it has 140.