EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOV) -- Fifty-three people will lose their jobs; another 45 will be reduced to part-time, and that's just the beginning.
The East St. Louis School District 189 is trying to dig out of $13 million hole. The superintendent says the new cuts will save the district more than $3 million a year.
Those getting laid off are security guards, custodians, bus and attendance monitors; anyone who holds a non-certified position. The superintendent says he had to tackle bloated staffing levels and unnecessary personnel that eat up the budget because spending is out of whack.
Even though East St. Louis schools have lost 1,200 students in the past three years, salaries have continued to increase. Fewer students mean less state and federal funding. As a start, administrators' salaries were frozen for this school year but it's not enough.
The superintendent -- put in place after a state take-over -- says if the district doens't make these cuts and more, it simply won't stay in business.
Several board members said student safety trumps learning. That's why all bus monitors will be made part-time. They'll staff the buses morning and afternoon but will no longer work inside the school during the day.
While the district couldn't give me any hard numbers, leaders say the cuts will undoubtedly affect several employees' family and friends who were hired on before the state took over.
"Folks here knew that they needed the jobs and they just didn't make those cuts," East St. Louis School District 189 Superintendent Arthur Culver, said. "I think what it boiled down to was there wasn't an adherence to staffing guidelines. When you lose students like that then you have to lose staff members also."
This round of cuts goes into effect February 29, then, teachers are next on the chopping block. Starting in March, employees whose contracts expire this year will not be re-signed.