PULASKI - In light of the failure to get approval to spend $18 million, Pulaski school officials are now wondering what they'll have to cut to balance the district budget.
Voters rejected three of four questions in an April 2 referendum, and the uncertainty of state funding also looms large.
District administrators met Wednesday night with the school board and the public to outline possible cuts.
The Pulaski school district is looking at closing or combining schools, laying off teachers and eliminating programs - all to balance next year's budget.
That's because there could be a state freeze on per student tax collection under Governor Scott Walker's proposed state budget.
"We hope that Senator Ellis and Senator Olson's plan to give school districts $150 per pupil comes to fruition. That would mean additional revenue of $555,000 for the school district," said Pulaski Superintendent Mel Lightner.
The district also awaits the recount of votes on a $4.4 million referendum question relating to building maintenance and security upgrades. It narrowly passed April 2.
"If the vote is overturned, then the district will not have that money to spend on building maintenance issues, and so it is more than likely that the school district would try to accelerate spending out of the budget," said Lightner.
In light of these variables, administrators are proposing ways to save money. One option is laying off up to 35 teachers. Preliminary layoff notices would go out by the end of April. Teachers could also be required to teach more classes.
The labor union representing Pulaski schoolteachers released a statement Thursday. It said, in part, "The news of the layoff of 35 teachers is devastating to Pulaski schools. Teachers are concerned about what comes after mass layoffs - larger class sizes and cuts to student programs."
The district could also restructure schools so that Hillcrest Elementary becomes a K through 2 school and Lannoye Elementary becomes a 3 through 5 school. Savings there would equal about $217,000.
There is also the possibility Fairview Elementary School could close. Those students would attend Glenbrook Elementary, saving the district about $393,000.
"We're all kind of shell shocked," said Parent Staff Organization co-chair Dawn Martin, who has a first grader at Fairview.
"It's going to be devastating not only to the kids and to the families that are part of the Fairview community but also to our Krakow community. We have a lot of growth that's coming to our community and with the closure of the school there's going to be nothing to bring people into Krakow," said Martin.
All of these ideas are just that - ideas.
The school board won't vote on the final budget until fall, but layoff decisions could come later this month.
The board's president tells FOX 11 there are some very tough decisions to make in deciding the best route.
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