Unit 5 is waiting to see what will await its financial situation in the new year. (photo by Zach Dietmeier/WJBC)
By Zach Dietmeier
NORMAL - Unit 5 is into the second quarter of its fiscal year after a steady first period, but the approaching fiscal cliff is on the minds of the district's financial expert.
Unit 5 business manager Erik Bush said an increased number of students meant unique challenges for managing growth.
"We had anticipated hiring about 10 to 15 more teachers, and the amount we ultimately put into the classrooms was about twice that number," said Bush. "We're just looking at our personnel demands as a good challenge because the kids are getting met and teachers are getting some help."
Unit 5 saw over 400 more students than previously expected to start the year. The budget has stayed in the black thusfar as the district turns its attention to the approaching "fiscal cliff" and teacher pension discussions.
"It's hard to get your arms around automatic cuts that are supposed to arrive on Jan. 2," said Bush. "They are supposed to begin at seven percent, but we don't know how high they could go."
Bush is also waiting for the pension decisions to be made by the Illinois General Assembly and in Washington.
"It's wait and see for both the federal side and state pension reform as well," said Bush. "It seems like things are going to be either really good or really bad for us in January."
Zach Dietmeier can be reach at email@example.com.