Members of the board of the Oak Park Unified School District have agreed to forgo nearly half of their health insurance benefits as a cost-cutting gesture for the 1993-94 budget.
The move would save $15,000 of the $32,000 the district now spends on insurance for the five board members, who receive no other compensation, Assistant Supt. Stan Mantooth said.
Board President Wayne Blasman made the announcement at a meeting Tuesday, when members got their first look at the proposed $9.1-million budget.
The district is considering $217,000 in cuts to balance next year's budget. It is facing financial pressures because of a third elementary school that is scheduled to open in September.
To balance the budget, Oak Park's five schools were asked to propose cuts of 40% from the funds used to buy such items as supplies and equipment, library books, laboratory equipment and athletic uniforms. Oak Park High School officials said they would cancel graduation ceremonies if the cuts were approved.
However, the proposed budget fully funds scheduled pay increases for teachers who advance on a salary schedule.
Howard Levy, a parent, said he thinks parents might be willing to contribute $100 per student to make up the anticipated shortfall. But he said the board should freeze teacher salaries and eliminate its health insurance if it wanted support for a community fund-raising drive.
"It is unthinkable that the Board of Education could be so arrogant to ask parents to spend one dime as long as the board is so arrogant to spend money on personal health benefits," Levy said.
Board member Jan Kavulic said a freeze would "just send a shiver" through its teachers. She suggested spending part of the district reserves to make up the shortfall.