Cutbacks now planned for Harrisburg schools

Cutbacks now planned for Harrisburg schools
By: Arnold Wyrick

HARRISBURG, Ill. - Voters hit the polls in Harrisburg on Tuesday with a lot of choices to make.  They chose a new mayor, and voted no on helping their school district out of debt.  Voters denied the district's request for a million dollar bond issue, that the district was hoping to be able to use to pay off it's $1.8 million in debt. "Instead we're now going to have to use some of the $400,000 in cuts the school board voted to take affect in the 2008 school year," says Superintendent Dennis Smith.

While the board did vote to save junior high and high school sports programs, they did end up cutting $50,000 from the sports department.  And now any participation in sports will cost players and their parents. "We'll keep all of our coaches and assistant coaches.  We'll keep all the sports.  We'll participate in all the sports we did this year.  But there will be a pay-to-play system instated," Smith said.

That's something that isn't playing well with some parents in Harrisburg. "My honest opinion is that I think that it should be based more on academics, as far as the school goes and worried more about kids grades.  Instead of this town revolving around high school sports," says Benjamin Bolin of Harrisburg.

"Nowadays kids really don't have a lot to do.  And if you want to kids off of drugs, then they should be able to play sports without us having to pay for it," says Cynthia Thomas of Harrisburg.
The school board did vote to eliminate 7 part-time teaching positions for the upcoming school year.