Referendum Money Draws Public Comment

Tensions were high last night at a public meeting held to discuss the potential use of MCCSC referendum dollars.

MCCSC Bus Side

Photo: WFIU News Staff

Many of the people who spoke at last night's meeting were heavily involved in the original referendum campaign.

At least 100-people filled the University Elementary School cafeteria to hear MCCSC finance committee members explain an expenditure proposal which many say failed to meet the expectations of those involved in promoting the November ballot measure.

The center stone of proposal revolved around the creation of so called interventionalists…  in the form of literary coaches at the elementary level and preventionists at the middle school level.

According to Director of Secondary Education Janice Bergeson, the positions were already in the works prior to a 6-point-7 million dollar cut in state funding.

Foreign language programs remain the most controversial aspect of the new proposal.  The plan calls for the restoration of 8th-grade Spanish… however fails to provide funding for any other language at the 8th grade level… and continues the elimination any 7th grade foreign language programs.

This was a major sticking point with many people at last night’s meeting… especially in light of the fact that protecting foreign language programs was one of the main rallying cries used to promote the referendum.

However, committee member and school board representative Sue Wanzer says the district has to take into account actual enrollment in middle school language classes…  adding it is difficult to justify the expense of classes with an enrollment of what she says was something like 8-people.

The budget proposal is far from final. However, according to a timeline distributed at last night’s public dialogue session…  a similar session scheduled to take place at Summit Elementary at 7, is the last opportunity for public dialogue.

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