Voters Will Decide Whether To Consolidate Catlin And Jamaica School Districts

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VERMILION COUNTY--Voters in two Central Illinois counties will decide whether to consolidate two separate school systems come Election Day.

Less money from the state already forced cuts in both the Catlin and Jamaica school districts.

"We've unfortunately had to reduce one math teacher and one science teacher," said Catlin CUSD #5 Board President, Jeff Fauver.

"We are unable to continue to offer what we want to offer and in fact, beginning to have to operate in a deficit budget," said Jamaica CUSD #12 Board Member, Jeff Carder. "So we needed to find ways to take care of that."

The solution school board members came up with was to come together.

"We feel like a consolidation will create an efficiency between the two districts that will allow us to bring back some of those curricular offerings that we have had to eliminate over the years," said Fauver.

Students would still attend separate elementary schools, but junior high would move to the Jamaica campus, while high school would be held in Catlin.

There would be a little less than 900 students in the single, Salt Fork School District, with a budget of just under $9 million. The savings would add up, but it would come at a cost.

"In the first year, we could save in staff cuts around a half a million dollars," said Carder.
     
"We are projecting seven and a half staff members at the certified level and five at the non certified level," said Fauver.

Voters in Edgar and Vermilion counties will be asked to weigh the pros and cons on their ballots this November.

"At this time the board doesn't have an official plan B," said Fauver.

But members do say more staff cuts and higher taxes are both possibilities.

Anyone looking for more information about the potential consolidation is invited to a public meeting on Wednesday, October 8th, at 7 pm in the Jamaica High School gym.
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