District 150 Approves Dismissals

The approval of dismissals was the main topic of discussion at Monday’s District 150 School Board meeting.

The pink slips of more than 150 hourly, non-tenured and regular teachers were approved.

“The passion of some of these teachers is moving, but at the same time it is tragic as many are going to be on the ‘riff list’ and some won’t be picked up by the district,” says Jeff Atkins Dutro, President of the Peoria Federation of Teachers.

State law requires that teachers are notified of their pink slips at least 45 days before the end of the school year. But many of these teachers are expected to be rehired once a budget is finalized.

Eighteen positions, however, are expected not to be filled. Those include eight kindergarten through eighth grade teaching jobs and ten high school teaching positions throughout the district.

School reconfiguration and the lack of state funds are the chief causes of reduction in positions.

“23.4 million dollars has been withheld from our school since 2011,” said Board Member Rick Cloyd, blaming the economic troubles on the state. “That is substantially more than our budget.”

To compensate for the $8.3 million deficit between its Education, Operations and Maintenance and Transportation funds, District 150 is considering cutting more than just positions.

A proposed idea includes cutting back on interventionists and paraprofessionals, reducing elite expenditures and teacher supply reimbursements.

Board Member Debbie Wolfmeyer brought up the idea of cutting back on funding the athletic program, hoping it would catch the interest of the public by personifying how dire their situation is becoming because of a lack of state funding. Comptroller Mike McKenzie added to the bleak picture.

“If the state were to not pay general state aid…we would be in a situation where we would be out of money by next fall,” he said.

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