Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Gerhard C. Matzner


The purpose of this study was to discover ways to reduce expenditures in the budget of the Edwards County Community Unit School District No. 1 for the 1978-79 fiscal year in the light of a projected loss of revenues complicated by inflationary trends.

The need arose due to three factors:

  1. A loss of a portion of the district's state aid due to a previous overpayment.
  2. A rise in the assessed valuation which would mean an additional loss of state aid: It was projected that local monies collected would not offset the loss of state aid.
  3. Spiraling inflation was creating an increasing burden on the district's budget.

Three alternatives for meeting the need were presented to the Board of Education:

  1. They could ask the voters of Edwards County for more working capital by means of a referendum.
  2. They could continue with the existing staff and/or programs and incur debt as needed to maintain the staff and/or programs.
  3. They could cut staff and/or programs in order to maintain the present fiscal balance.

The Board of Education decided to reduce staff and/or programs, which defined the problem: Which staff and/or programs could be cut while still providing a quality program of instruction?

When considering the limitation or elimination of various programs, two factors became involved:

  1. The decision had to be made as to which reductions would affect the fewest students the least.
  2. State-mandated programs would have to be maintained.

The plan of action devised was based upon the desire to involve all facets of the school community, teachers, parents, taxpayers, administration, and the Board of Education in the deliberation process. It was decided that alternatives for budget reductions originate from the building level. The Central Office would concentrate on programs/expenditures not within the jurisdiction of any one building. The staff was informed from the beginning and encouraged to submit cost-saving ideas.

A Citizens Advisory Council was established to:

  1. Act as a "sounding board" to the administration and board for cuts to be made
  2. Generate new ideas
  3. Make recommendations to the Board of Education concerning the cuts deliberated upon by the council

Recommendations submitted by the Citizens Advisory Council were:

  1. To eliminate three elementary teaching positions, one high school English position, and change the position of vocational director to vocational coordinator.
  2. To develop a written purchasing procedure policy
  3. To take the following list of eight long-range goals under advisement:

a. Maintain an advisory council
b. Employ a curriculum director
c. Establish priorities for maintaining buildings and equipment
d. Develop a school policies manual
e. Study competency testing
f. Consider the purchase of a heavy equipment building
g. Establish a mandatory parent-teacher conference day
h. Hold a referendum

As a result of the project, the following budgets, positions, and/or programs were altered or eliminated:

  1. Three teachers were dismissed due to a reduction in force.
  2. The vocational director's position was altered.
  3. $1,000 was trimmed from the library budget.
  4. Additional custodial and clerical help was funded through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act.
  5. One less school bus was purchased for the 1978-79 school year.
  6. The adoption of high school textbooks was postponed for one year until they became eligible for funding under the Illinois Textbook Loan Program.

In his evaluation the author deems the project a "limited success." He states that the reductions did equal the loss in state aid. Five of the eight long-range goals submitted by the Citizens Advisory Council either have been accomplished or are under study. The author warns, however, that the solutions are temporary, citing rises in approved budgets, the purchase of needed equipment, and a probable rise in salaries.

Recommendations as a result of the study include:

  1. The Board of Education should maintain a Citizens Advisory Council.
  2. A program of zero-based budgeting should be studied for possible implementation in the future.
  3. A systematic schedule of the replacement of equipment and materials should be established.
  4. The district should pass a local referendum.