Granite City turns to residents to avoid 'tough' cuts to school programs
By Daniel Fredman
GRANITE CITY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Programs like the school band and football could be on the chopping block in Granite City. District leaders say the reason they are falling on tough financial times is due to state funding cuts.
But, officials hope voters will help make up the difference.
Superintendent Jim Greenwald says the district has been working on bare bones for years, cutting staff and even closing an elementary school to make their dwindling budget work.
But if the referendum is not approved by voters in April, he says the few athletic and musical programs that remain could be cut too.
Greenwald says the increase set to appear on the April ballot would bring an additional $3.8 million of annual revenue to the district, money he says schools desperately need to stay afloat.
“We would be faced with some very tough decisions down the road as to what we may need to get rid of and these are the types of cuts that are not easy,” Greenwald said.
Music and Physical Education programs have already been cut in half, an entire class period eliminated for junior high students.
Since 2011, staff size has been reduced by 12 percent all to make up for state aid that Greenwald says has decreased by $2 million each year.
Voters will be asked to approve an 80 cent increase per $100 of assessed property value. Greenwald believes the support lies in parents who experienced extracurricular programs and want the same for their kids.
“I think it helped with my socialization as far as being in a group and having friends so them not having those activities to keep them out of trouble could be a big problem,” he said.
There are a number of informational meetings over the next month all over the district.
Public forum: 7 p.m. Feb. 19, Granite City High School cafeteria