HAMILTON, Mont. -

The Hamilton school board is considering cutting 11 staff positions.

It's bitter news for the school, the staff, the parents and kids.

Jobs on the block include one teacher position that wouldn't be filled and a resigning teacher's job that probably wouldn't be filled, a preschool specialist, an art specialist, a grant writer and six para-professionals. Most jobs are full-time.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement a few weeks ago that Grantsdale School would close. Administration said its necessary to balance a $371,000 budget deficit. The district said Grantsdale's closure helps slice some of the deficit.

Losing 11 educator positions doesn't make anybody happy.

Hamilton businesswoman Claire Kemp, the mother of two Hamilton School District students, reviewed the list of people who could be cut. She knows people.

"These are really talented, passionate educators that will be losing their jobs," said Kemp.

Kemp opposed the closure of Grantsdale School. She loved the education that her daughter received there. But administrators said closing Grantsdale, plus the 11 cuts in staff should balance the budget. Even that isn't a sure bet.

"We're looking at declining enrollment," said school Superintendent Tom Korst. "We're looking at $100,000 there."

Korst anticipates a 10-percent cut in federal dollars. He said there are facility and maintenance needs that must be met.

Some critics said the district is acting too quickly. We don't know what the legislature will do yet. But the superintendent thinks making decisions now is better than later.

"Some folks will want that opportunity to look for a job," said Korst.

But critics said cuts are a slight to education.

"It's very hard for me to see how they can still receive the quality of education that our school district wants," said Kemp.

She wanted to initiate a mill levy to offset the deficit.

The board will hold a special board meeting on the proposed cuts Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at Daly Elementary School.