You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

District eyes cuts, transportation fees

Urbana budget deficit could also result in closure of one school building.

Urbana City School board members are reviewing about $650,000 in potential cuts and possibly closing a school building as part of $1 million in spending reductions by the 2013-2014 school year.

The proposed cuts would touch everything from field trips and transportation to freshman athletics. The district is trying to slash as much spending as possible before the cuts begin to require layoffs or affect students negatively, said Charles Thiel, superintendent for the district.

“We’ve tried to get as much of the $1 million we need without impacting people’s jobs,” Thiel said.

The board could have a clear picture of the final cuts by its March 19 board meeting. If the district eliminates positions as part of the budget cuts, staff members must be notified by mid-April.

Among the proposed cuts, Thiel said the district will likely not replace a vacant position for an elementary school principal, saving about $72,000. If the district elects not to close a school building, it could mean three principals would be responsible for covering four buildings. A high school science teacher position could also be left vacant by the end of the year, saving an additional $50,000.

The district could also save an additional $82,000 by making some cuts in sports, including supplemental positions for freshman volleyball, freshman boys and girls basketball and an assistant football coach.

Students could also be asked to pay an annual $100 fee that would help cover the costs of transportation to sporting events. The district typically pays between $42,000 and $52,000 annually for transportation for those events, and about 370 students participate each year.

While it would not cover the whole cost, the $37,000 that would be raised could help the district save money while not placing too much of the burden on students and their families. Thiel said the district had considered implementing a pay to participate fee for sports, but those costs would be difficult for local families to afford. The transportation fee was something most board members could agree on.

“For us to ask our parents to foot the whole bill, we might as well eliminate sports,” Thiel said of the pay to participate fees.

Cuts to supplemental contracts, including student advisers and department chair positions, could save as much as $138,000. Another $80,000 could be saved in transportation costs by consolidating bus routes and implementing a transportation fee for extra-curricular activities like band and choir. The district could also eliminate field trips this spring and in the 2013-2014 school year and reduce building budgets by 25 percent, saving an additional $33,000.

Even with the proposed $650,000 in cuts, the district would have to find additional revenue to reach its $1 million goal. But Thiel said he is optimistic that more cuts can be made before staff positions are eliminated.

The district is also considering closing Local Intermediate or South Elementary School, but both schools could remain open. Each of the options has some drawbacks.

For example, closing Local Intermediate could save the district as much as $250,000 annually, but it would also mean all other district buildings would be filled to capacity, and two modular buildings would have to be moved to South Elementary at a cost to the district of $80,000.

Closing South Elementary would not require moving modular buildings, but it would mean Local Intermediate would remain open and most other district building classrooms would be at or near their capacity.

The district is also considering other options that would use Local Intermediate for pre-kindergarten classes, but would also require purchasing additional modular units at South Elementary.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

REPORT: Drugged driving surpasses drunken driving as a factor in fatal crashes 
REPORT: Drugged driving surpasses drunken driving as a factor in fatal crashes 

 DAYTON— A new Governor’s Highway Safety Association report shows drugged driving has now surpassed drunken driving as a factor in fatal crashes. Statistics show drugs were present in 43 percent of drivers in crash fatalities. The majority of Ohio motorists now view people driving after using illegal drugs as a bigger threat to their...
United unveils 10 policy changes, will pay bumped passengers up to $10,000
United unveils 10 policy changes, will pay bumped passengers up to $10,000

United Airlines has announced 10 policy changes after a video of passenger David Dao being dragged off a plane went viral earlier this month. In what may be the biggest change, the airline will now offer travelers as much as $10,000 to relinquish their seats on overbooked flights, up from $1,350, according to Bloomberg. In a Thursday news...
Dad learns to walk again for his daughters' sake after doctors said he was paralyzed
Dad learns to walk again for his daughters' sake after doctors said he was paralyzed

Seven months after doctors told him he’d never be able to use his legs again, a man stood up and walked out of a rehabilitation center with his two young daughters at his side. Cole Thomas, of Rochelle, Illinois, told “Today” that he shattered a vertebra in a September 2016 car crash. “I realized I was hurt very badly,&rdquo...
Poor Will’s Clark County Almanack: Hummingbirds arrive!
Poor Will’s Clark County Almanack: Hummingbirds arrive!

Stay together, Learn the flowers, Go light. — Gary Snyder, from “For the Children” The Almanack Horoscope Moon Time: Mock Orange Moon waxes throughout the period, entering its second quarter at 9:42 p.m. on May 2. Rising in the morning and setting in the evening, this moon passes overhead in the afternoon. Sun Time: Late Spring is...
Disney workers ask company to fight for 500 Haitian refugees
Disney workers ask company to fight for 500 Haitian refugees

Union representatives speaking on behalf of 500 Haitian refugees working as Disney cast members in Central Florida are asking CEO Bob Iger to fight for them to stay in the U.S. The group is part of 50,000 refugees from the island nation who are living in the U.S. following the earthquake that ravaged the country in 2010. President Barack Obama gave...
More Stories