CHICAGO (CBS) — The Oswego School District has a difficult job of filling an $11 million deficit, which could mean big cuts in the classroom, including layoffs.

District 308 is the 7th largest school district in the state, and is facing a $3.5 million budget deficit next year. Officials say cuts are necessary, but they want the public’s help.

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“We’re also not looking to raise taxes for the community,” said Therea Komitas, who is the communications director of District 308.

Instead, the district set up a virtual suggestion box for ideas on what to cut. Right now, suggestions include changing school hours, cutting extracurricular activities and increasing class size.

“The schools do so many great things in the arts, and everything else, I really just hope the cuts don’t come from there,” Lars Schweig said, who is a District 308 parent.

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The assistant superintendent says the district has 18,300 students in 22 schools. Rising expenses contributed to the shortfall, but Komitas says so did state funding cuts and failed payments.

“That adds up to about $50 million that we did not receive from the state of Illinois,” she said.

District officials say they need to cut $3.5 million from the budget to stay in the black for next school year, but they need to cut a total of almost $9 million to stay out of debt for the foreseeable future.

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No final decision on what cuts will be made will come before the end of January.