Whittling Down the Debt

Whittling Down the Debt
By: Arnold Wyrick
Murphysboro, IL - The Murphysboro school board is looking at some pretty difficult times ahead. The grim outlook comes in the wake of an announcement earlier this week that the district will reduce their budget for 2007 by $496,000.
The school district's business manager Jen Bush tells Heartland News that they'll see a savings of more than $355,000 just by changing their insurance coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Egyptian Trust Insurance.
But that'll still leave the district with more than a $100,000 in cutbacks from it's operations.
"I think most people understand that the district just doesn't have enough money coming in. And if you don't have enough money coming in, you can't keep running in the red. So you have to make cuts somewhere," says retired Murphysboro, teacher Denis Overturf.
This is just the beginning of the budget cuts planned out over the next two years for the district. The next round of cutbacks will have to be between $600,000 and $800,000 yearly in order to erase nearly $2,000,000 in red ink.
Bush says that some of the cutbacks could come in the form of peoples jobs, and extracurricular activities for students cancelled.
"I don't think that should happen. I think taxes are high enough here for homeowners, and that's what we pay for is schools. So I don't think that should happen," says Sheri Ford of Murphysboro.
In other action by the school board on Tuesday evening, the board voted not to renew Murphysboro High School Principal Collen Doyle's contract. A board member tells Heartland News they'll be looking for a replacement, no word on why the board is letting her go.