Facing a more than $11 million deficit, the Unit 5 Board of Education made the difficult decision to make the following reductions for the 2023-24 School Year:

● Reduce administration

● Reduce budgets by 10% (Unit Office, building budgets, curriculum budgets, technology

extracurriculars and co-curriculars (mostly supplies, materials, and travel)

● Reduce funding for field trips

● Push band/orchestra to 6th grade

● Remove funding for Schedule B Illuminate (MTSS collaboration, screening, and progress

monitoring) coaches

● Remove Schedule B at the junior high levels - 6-8 athletics, clubs, councils, etc

● Remove freshmen teams

● Limit the number of students who travel for out-of-town competitions

● Combine Vocational Transition Assistance Program (VTAP) job sites for students with disabilities

● Increase registration, activity, and gate fees (charge for all sporting events)

● Increase facility rental fees for community and parent groups

● Implement the National School Breakfast and Lunch programs at the high schools

Although devastating to students, these cuts only total approximately $2 million, and additional deep cuts will be necessary barring any changes to the Education Fund.

In an effort to attempt to put the district on more stable financial footing, Unit 5 will have a referendum on the ballot in the April 4 election. This is an attempt to ensure our students continue to have access to the quality education they deserve. 

If successful, we will be able to:

  • Responsibly solve Unit 5’s financial challenges

  • Reinstate programs that have been cut by the board for next school year, including junior high athletics, 5th grade band and orchestra, and field trips

  • Provide safer and improved learning environments for all students

If the referendum is approved, this will give the district the sustainable funding needed now and into the future, and will allow the district to no longer have to rely on working cash bonds to fund operations. 

This new sustainable funding will keep our financial challenges from negatively impacting students and classrooms. Members of our community agreed with the need to shield our students from the steps we will have to take if we do not solve our financial challenges, including decreasing staff, increasing class sizes, reducing extracurricular activities and program offerings, shortening school days, and closing school buildings.

To learn more, Unit 5 is hosting a virtual information session on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 5:30 pm - and an in-person session on Wednesday, March 8 at 5 pm at Parkside Junior High School.