SHARECOMMENTMORE

By Grant Bissell

CAHOKIA, Ill. (KSDK) - Strapped for cash and out of options a Metro East school district is considering drastic cuts.

On Monday night more than 50 teachers from Cahokia School District #187 were officially put on notice that they may lose their jobs.

The district could lose a total of nearly $5 million in state and federal funding next school year. But District Superintendent Arthur Ryan made it very clear the cuts are the absolute worst case scenario.

By rule the district has to give at least 45 days notice to teachers and staff who may lose their jobs for economic reasons. That was the emphasis of Monday night's school board meeting.

The potential cuts go far beyond the classroom. Five administrators, three secretaries and 27 other jobs including cafeteria workers and bus driver could be lost. If the district suffers that financial hit, it would also likely cut art, music and physical education for grades 8 and lower and would eliminate all sports, the coaches and support staff.

At Monday's meeting Superintendent Arthur Ryan called the potential cuts depressing.

"We are extremely dependent on state and federal funding," said Ryan. "We ultimately can only spend what we're given. If we were to ignore that and keep the programs as-is somewhere around March or April we would just run out of money and have to close the doors.

"It's the districts versus the state giving us the money," said Leslie Harder, spokeswoman for the Cahokia Federation of Teachers, Local 1272. "We know the state's broke. I really don't know the solution. I just hate to see it being on the backs of children's' education."

While it seems likely there will be widespread cuts, nothing is set in stone just yet. District leaders won't make any decisions until they know exactly how much state and federal funding the district will lose.

Those numbers are expected in May or June.