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School Board Cuts 17 Positions

Staff reduction the result of declining elementary school enrollment.

The Plainfield School District 202 board cut the equivalent of 17 full-time elementary certified positions on Monday due to declining enrollment.

The board approved the cuts by a vote of 5-2, with board members Michael Kelly and Eric Gallt voting against the plan.

The eliminated positions, which take effect in the fall, are expected to save about $1.1 million, district spokesman Tom Hernandez said.

The cuts will be across the district’s elementary schools, where enrollment is projected to be down by about 340 students for the 2012-13 school year. Exact building-level staffing is still to be determined based on actual enrollments.

Both middle school and high school enrollment continues to increase districtwide as the children of young families who moved into the Plainfield area during the housing boom grow up, Hernandez said.

Because of the weakened economy and unstable housing market, the Plainfield area has not seen a large influx in families with young children, he said.

Next fall, middle school enrollment is expected to increase by 21 students, while high school enrollment is projected to rise by about 242 students.

The staff cuts are among 361 full-time equivalent positions that have been eliminated since March 2009, as the district attempts to balance its budget while dealing with unstable state funding and high rates of foreclosures during the recession.

MidwestGal March 27, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Why not cut the ESL classes with ratios that are often somewhere near 10:1? Free second language no more...reinstate reading recovery, so the children can be LITERATE. Our elementary school has 3 pe teachers...why?... when we have only 1 music and 1 for art?
A concerned 202 parent March 28, 2012 at 11:58 AM
The reason for the three PE teachers is the students have PE2 times a week and health once per week. Art and music only see the students once per week. And mostly likely the PE teachers see more students because they teach kindergarten PE and art and music don't touch that grade.
scott March 28, 2012 at 12:08 PM
just a thought, but rather than all of us complaining and ranting here, we need to go to tom cross' office downtown and start letting him know our frustrations, this state needs to start paying it's bill's and putting it's priorities in place. where is the lottery money for education? where is the gambilng boat money for education? maybe it is also time to start thinking about wheather tax payers should foot the bill for athletics in schools. with aau basketball, travel softball and baseball, club volleyball, if parents want thier kids in sports, they can pay and find , at times, better alternatives to school athletics. that would save millions to the district.
Sheila Raddatz March 28, 2012 at 12:15 PM
I have talked to Tom Cross. I think it is a great idea if more people start banging on his door.
MidwestGal March 28, 2012 at 01:03 PM
If you cut athletics in school, then why not band? These athletic/band programs keep some kids out of trouble, it's also their potential ticket to college money. "Travel" programs around here are a dime a dozen, bunch of dads and their kids neighbors & friends forming teams, many discovering when they get to highschool they have less talent then dad led them to believe. Almost every "travel" club has the "stars" being the coaches kids...when they get to highschool, the coaches make them bench warmers. True talent is actually used on the fields. Plus, if you cut athletics now, many of the kids won't be able to read because reading recovery was already cut, so then what are they going to do in life-Walmart greeter (wait that was eliminated too)?
Zach March 28, 2012 at 01:42 PM
In a school of 3200, twelve of the seniors at the high school where I teach were given athletic scholarships. The odds of getting scholarship money for academics or musical ability are much better.
Leslie Ann March 28, 2012 at 02:00 PM
http://www.tomcross.com/contact/
TC March 28, 2012 at 07:12 PM
and one of them is one of the worst kids in the school, right Zach? Bad kid, bad teammate, but athletic talent = scholarship. It's unfortunate. The best point made here is that if Tom Cross and his colleagues would keep their word and fund education properly, school districts wouldn't have to choose between offering high quality educational options and band and athletics.
4boys March 28, 2012 at 11:50 PM
I have 2 sons that have already received scholorship money for athletics and academics. The athletic scholorship was way more. Why not cut Harpers pay instead.
Lisa S. March 29, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Tom Hernandez and his staff should be on the chopping block with Harper. Why is it we did fine without a 'Director Of Community relations', then we had to have him, then he had to have staff.... The State needs to pony up what they owe and be held accountable. However, if they gave Plainfield a big check what would they do with it? More raises?
JeffK March 29, 2012 at 01:01 AM
The state owes every school district in the state money. Not every district has major job cuts. I wonder what the major difference is?
MidwestGal March 29, 2012 at 01:31 AM
That's wonderful - congrats to you and your boys...getting both athletics and academics is hard work that paid off! Love that they (and you!) are being rewarded for work on the field and classroom!
MidwestGal March 29, 2012 at 01:40 AM
What exactly is a "high quality" educational option? At this point our kids need the basics back - reading recovery, EQUAL education for esl vs. gifted vs. average learners. Education will never be funded 100% correctly, but having SMART people making the descisions and running the schools for that matter, is whats needed the most. We can work with what we have, we have to, just need some brains to make better choices. Look at some teachers...they do not have much to work with, but some are so creative and talented that that makes up for no money. No child left behind needs to be cut in Illinois as well.
concernedresident March 29, 2012 at 12:22 PM
What I don't understand is why there hasn't been a pay decrease overall instead of job losses. I have sacrificed 20% of my salary over the past 3 years so that my company would not have to lay anyone off. Why can't the school district do the same in this case. The answer is simple if you really think about it, it's called "the teachers union" that organization that would rather give it's members raises instead of keeping them employed.
Jim W March 29, 2012 at 01:27 PM
@ concerned resident The teachers did not receive a pay increase this year. In addition, their insurance premiums were raised and their coverage was lowered. Without getting into some kind of semantic argument with you, this effectively does amount to a pay cut. In the future, please try to know what you are talking about before you spout your bitter and inflammatory nonsense.
concernedresident March 29, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Jim if you consider an insurance increase and lower coverage a pay decrease you are sadly mistaken. If that is the case I have had a pay decrease for the past 30 years. You obviously live in a world full of nonsense. Also get your facts straight for sake of argument, I never said they received a raise.
concernedresident March 29, 2012 at 02:27 PM
The more I sit and think about your joke of a response about a pay cut meaning insurance increase, the more I have determined that you obviously are a card carrying union member who doesn't give a damn about one of your beloved members losing their job. Hope your next on that target list, and I feel real bad about that insurance increase Mr. Semantic!
MidwestGal March 29, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Wow Jim, did you ever wonder if most people's insurance was raised and coverage was lowered come January 2012? Most did not get a raise in 2012, instead kept a job. We all have taken pay cuts one way or another...most do it with there head up high and being greatful to still be employeed... they aren't stubborn union members, they are nonbitter, ethical people. In the future, please try to be decent.
Emily Thies March 29, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Cutting the reading recovery program was absolutely insane. I was lucky enough to have had the benefit of RR for my struggling child and am eternally grateful to the staff that helped her!
concernedresident March 30, 2012 at 12:24 AM
God bless you MidwestGal, my head is still spinning from that vile that Jim spewed. He's just looking for his 3 month vacation coming up while you and I slave away at our non pension funding jobs.
Plainfield Conservative March 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM
The lottery monies DID go to education, as promised. Where the problem comes in is that we were all baffooned (a/k/a "tricked) into thinking that the approval of the lottery meant that more money was going to shore up education and/or help take the burden off the already overtaxed taxpayer. Instead, what they did was take the money that we originally going towards education (prior to the lottery) and replace it with lottery funds making it a lateral move. Lord only knows where the original money went, but we can only surmise that, like everything else, it went to shore up the salaries and pension accounts for elected officials or the unions who help get them elected.
Marie March 30, 2012 at 07:25 PM
My daughter is only in kindergarten and I can't believe how this school district is ran! They eliminated reading recovery, great! I was told by her teacher that the state if Illinois is slated for an all day kindergarten curriculm, but since Plainfield is one of the rare districts to still have half day, the children must cram a whole days work in just under three hours. And it's because the district has no money. Yet my child is struggling because she is being rushed in class. Can you believe a kindergartner saying she hates school? No time for snack or recess! Unbelieveable. Plus, they did away with the teacher aides, so they have parents volunteer. I found out that one of the volunteers in my daughters class has a criminal background! Don't they even do a background check on these helpers? They should at least if they're consistent. We pay almost $10k a year in property taxes and our home is worth about $100k less then what we built it for 6 years ago. Raising more taxes in this economy is not the answer! But an over haul to the adminstration is defiately due!!
BD April 02, 2012 at 04:41 AM
Vacation ... really. You could have become a teacher. It's not a 7-4 job, teachers plan at night, grade at night, continue their own education. In the summers, many teachers take a second job, take extra classes or spend time with their own children. Teachers don't get to see their own kids on their first day of school. Teacher's (rarely) don't get to go on field trips and events at their childrens schools. They don't get to be a "room parent" and help out at the holiday parties and watch the halloween parades at their children's school. It's a shame that teachers are not more respected. They prepare children for their futures - for life after school. If you think you can do better, by all means! 202 has dedicated teachers and administrators at the building level. "Do more with less" - it effects everyone across the board. You belittle a teacher because they have a pension, I am confident that most new teachers don't get into education because of the pension. Your views are disappointing -
Holly April 02, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I wonder how many of the children who are struggling in school come from homes that believe it's only the schools job to teach their children. Parents think they are too busy with their own lives to read to their children. Reading Recovery? Do YOUR job as a parent. Turn off the slime on TV and read to your kids.

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