The Plainfield School District 202 school board on Monday made some slight adjustments to the district’s student to staffing ratios based on Supt. John Harper’s recommendations.
Staffing changes will go into effect for the 2013-14 school year. Harper said the change could mean layoffs, but it's too early to tell. Whether job cuts are in the future will depend on final enrollment numbers for next school year and, ultimately, the decision will rest with the board of educaton.
On Monday, board members voted to lower to ratio of guidance counselors to students at the high school level from one guidance counselor per 375 students to one guidance counselor for every 350 students while raising the ratio of students to deans.
Currently, the high schools have one dean for every 650 students. Next year, the high schools will have one dean for every 670 students, according to the school board’s vote.
High school administrators had hoped for one dean for every 500 students, but the district is weathering tough economic times, and budgetary constraints make it difficult to significantly lower ratios and add staff.
District officials said counselors are taking on more duties than college and career planning and assistance. They also take on the roles of social worker, help the district’s Catalyst program, which deals with at-risk students, work with special education students and help students transition back to school after hospitalization, among other duties.
District administration compared nearby districts, including Oswego Community Unit District 308, Valley View District 365U and Naperville Community Unit District 203, on their student to staff ratios to help align the new staffing levels.
The school board voted to continue the current ratio of 1,000 students for one dean at the middle school level and one part-time assistant principal for every 400 students at the elementary school level. The part-time assistant principal becomes a full-time assistant principal once the elementary school building reaches 600 students.
The new staffing ratios help the administration plan for next year. The school board can still vote on any future staffing changes.