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District 202 Board Votes to Rehire 7 Deans

However, the board also voted Monday not to fill the 23 vacancies created by teachers who are retiring or resigning at the end of the school year.

Seven deans whose positions were eliminated under the budget deficit reduction plan will be recalled, but teachers who retire or resign may not be replaced, the school board decided Monday.

In February, the board voted to to erase a projected $3.2 million deficit in the 2012-13 budget. The layoffs included seven deans (one at each high school and one at , and Aux Sable middle schools), which would have saved about $452,800, district officials said.

On Monday, the board voted 5-2 to bring back the deans. Board member Michael Kelly and board Secretary Eric Gallt voted against the motion.

Supt. John Harper also advised the board that the deans positions should remain eliminated as part of the deficit reduction plan.

Board members in support of restoring the jobs said the deans serve as mentors and coaches for students, and sometimes they're a student’s last opportunity to get on the right track before they graduate.

Board President Roger Bonuchi said he also wanted to ensure the district had minority deans to help represent the district’s diverse student population.

Gallt said if the positions remained cut, the district would still remain comparable to other districts with similar dean-to-student ratios. By bringing back the seven positions, he said, the district would be digging itself into a deeper financial hole next year.

The district will realize some savings by not replacing 23 teachers who are retiring or resigning.

The board voted to eliminate the 23 jobs through attrition. Most are teachers in the middle and high schools and the special education and English language learners programs. The positions will be added to the 17 elementary school jobs that were cut last month due to declining enrollment.

The district will include the positions in the budget as placeholders should actual student enrollment require that some of those teachers be rehired in the fall, said Darlene von Behren, assistant superintendent for administration and personnel.

However, the district will try hard not to replace those positions, which has the potential to save about $2.6 million.

In other staffing news, three elementary administrators will be changing positions for the upcoming school  year.

Current Principal Curtis Hudson will replace Charles Reed Elementary Principal Beth Wackerlin, who is resigning at the end of this school year.

Current Lincoln Elementary Principal Kelley Gallt will take Hudson’s place at Freedom, and Elementary Assistant Principal Casey Hartman will become principal at Lincoln.

Gallt helped open Lincoln as a teacher, while Hudson opened Freedom Elementary as its first principal.

Zaney April 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I am SO glad I didn't vote for the 5 board members who can't seem to make up their mind about anything!! In February, the same 5 board members voted to cut 64 full-time positions. Now, the same people are saying "deans serve as mentors and coaches for students and sometimes they're a students last opportunity to get on the right track before they graduate." Why weren't you thinking about that in February. Roger Bonuchi states "he also wanted to ensure the district had minority deans to help represent the districts diverse student population". Again, what were you thinking in February. Historically these five board members are totally incapable of making a decision and they are digging the tax payers into a deeper financial hole for next year - quote from Mr. Gallt. Mr. Kelly also is smart enough to see this is the wrong move. And, they went against the recommendation of Supt. John Harper - a highly educated and qualified individual who knows his job and knows what is best for the district. I would love to know where the five of you went to college and what qualifications you have to make the decisions you make. I hope the people of District 202 are paying attention and vote you out at the next election!
Sheila Raddatz April 24, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Thank you, school board, for working late on our behalf.
R. Paxson April 24, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Working on our behalf? Go to the Will County Supervisor of Assessments and look at your new tax rates and assessments. I don't know who you think is working on our behalf but it isn't government.
Tina April 24, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Personally I think the teaching staff should come first. They are the ones in contact with the students daily,they mentor,console,coach and teach daily. Each school already has several administrators but are they going to help with slow learners,reading recovery and the areas students need help in to succeed academically?
Marilyn April 24, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I couldn't agree with you more Tina! Aren't teachers mentors as well? The children are going to school to learn...not play sports. They don't need another coach.
Nancy Fitros April 24, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Deans are there to DISCIPLINE the kids. Teachers are there to teach them. This board members need to be voted out. This district does not have your children education first . People of Plainfield need to speak up for your kids education.
Tim April 24, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Raising taxes to the point that it drives people like Reed Paxson to move out of the area, is exactly what I would consider 'working for me'. Whats it going to take Reed? 15% more, 25% more? When will you be moving on? Whatever the amount, it will be worth it.
Debra April 24, 2012 at 05:43 PM
As a retired school administrator from another district, it is appalling that in one breath the school board votes to cut teachers and deans, and in another they vote to give administrators raises???? This makes no sense, whatsoever. When I retired two years ago, the administration did not receive raises for the last several years I was there, in an effort to keep our teaching staff. Small price to pay, to keep our teachers, in my opinion!! Teaching staff should be cut as a last resort.
Ray April 24, 2012 at 06:46 PM
I agree with Tina that teachers should come first in situations like this. I am also curious and hope someone can answer a question I have and just answer the question and keep the rhetoric out of the answer. Why don't they ask for a referendum to save all these jobs?
Sheila Raddatz April 24, 2012 at 07:22 PM
I will always support teachers. Teachers in our district are over burdened with large classes and little support. The large classrooms are very taxing on BOTH the teachers and the students. Hopefully a few strategically placed Deans will offset the demands of students that require additional attention and bring the attention back to the lesson plan.
TC April 24, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I wonder if Eric Gallt would vote against bringing back administrative positions if one of the positions cut was current Lincoln principal Kelley Gallt who will be the new principal at Freedom Elementary next year... you think? I'm guessing he might be in support of bringing back those positions then. Just a wild guess.
TC April 24, 2012 at 07:42 PM
I wonder if Eric Gallt would vote against bringing back administrative positions if one of the positions cut was current Lincoln principal Kelley Gallt who will be the new principal at Freedom Elementary next year... you think? I'm guessing he might be in support of bringing back those positions then. Just a wild guess.
Jdub April 24, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Everyones job has its importance in the district! From deans, principals, teachers, custodians to sudexo who help feed the kids. Fact is nobody is safe! I work for 202 and the past few years have been hell on myself and everyone around me. Hell more for others than some but the board needs to stop looking at now and worry about 5 years from now and give people something to feel secure about. I know there are 2 shithole schools still running that could be closed and that would save alot of money get a lot of cuts out of the way to make 202 window for the future a bit bigger. But 202 wants to play games with peoples lives and emotions. Thats not right!!
Lyle Hughart April 24, 2012 at 08:34 PM
A BAD move by the Board. Of course you can find reasons too bring back the Deans. But I think you could find even more reasons to bring back 5 teaching positions (which probably pay less). Tha would be better for the students and for the moral of the staff. When a Board puts administration before teaching then they are headed in the wrong direction.
Robert Grandmaison April 24, 2012 at 11:01 PM
If any positions are saved it should be classroom teachers. Deans are not mentors or coaches they are disciplinarians. The racial makeup of the Deans should not be a factor if we are concerned about the solvancy of the district.
Betsey April 25, 2012 at 12:50 AM
I would like to find out if the same is true of an answer I received a couple years back. I was told that ALL DEANS are Teacher based positions, they are then paid a stipend just like the coaches in our district. I also was under the impression several years ago that they were part of the administration, and was given this answer by the Board of Ed. I also think some people in this community should ask your teachers on a middle school level if they think we need the Dean's, I have asked several(some of which are also parents of students). They are thrilled that that these positions have been reinstated. Mind you, maybe the Patch could look into this but there are only one Dean at each middle school now in the entire District of 202.
Jdub April 25, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Betsy, i think I might know the answer about deans being admin. All principals and assist principals are admin. at the school i work at everyone in the main office is considered admin except the secretaries bc they are union. Deans are needed sure dont get me wrong. Has anyone ever seen how many deans and counslers there are at a high school? Its unbelievable! They keep retracting Dr. Harpers suggestions. Dr. Harper is a good man and is very smart and highly capable of handling these cuts in the intrest of the kids and the schools. The board has an agenda to screw Dr. Harper and its not a secret. So if it means screwing over the kids, tax payers, staff and community to get to Harper they will do it.
Betsey April 25, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Jdub- I still would like to hear from the district is their pay considered administration or not. Again even with keeping these Deans it would mean only one left at each middle school in our district. I would like the District as a whole to listen more to our teachers, these people are in our schools everyday. They all have some great ideas to bring to the table, but what I have been told by a large majority, the admin. the board will all do want they want or feel is the right thing to do. But the turn off for alot of the people are we have all these opinion groups that are formed to hear what they (teachers) think should happen. Yet some people that have not been in a classroom for years actively teaching makes the final decision. Also, I had been told that the Dean's are also member of the teacher's union is this not true anymore? Because if they are I have to believe what I said in my original comment is true.
Cathy April 25, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Look on the bright side. Test scores are still going up and the district has cut around $30 million a year from the budget. I say continue to cut until the test scores go down. That will give us a financial baseline to work from.
Sheila Raddatz April 25, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I truly believe that a good foundation is very important but I could not disagree with the thought of making more cuts. What looks good on paper doesn't always make the best choices and I think that is what we are seeing by the board changing direction. First of all, no one wants to buy into a bad school system. Our school system is critical to our property values and personally, I certainly want to do what it takes to improve my home's value. Also,in my opinion, I see a definite correlation between cutting creativity (art and music) in schools with test scores and bullying. Creativity enhances a student's self esteem, which can lead to higher test scores and more confident student's. I also believe that by not fully funding technology in the classroom, we are creating a detriment to our children's future. Technology goes leagues beyond just social media. All three of these programs have been "adjusted" a little too much--again, in my opinion. If I had a "say" in the decisions, I would start cutting from the redundancy in the houses. The house concept is an attempt to control communication and planning between schools . I suggest putting more control back into the schools who are face to face with the parents/students and/or improving our technology to handle such transitions. Instead, our district buys technology to "efficiently" cut certified staff instead of working smarter with the staff we have. http://www.psd202.org/Schools/houseconcept.php
Lisa S. April 25, 2012 at 03:01 PM
If we had more teachers and less administrators, perhaps the test scores would do just that, and we could save a few dollars in the process. I have great respect for the teachers. However, there are few working people in this country right now that are not doing more and getting paid less. It's the current reality. And for every teacher that works hard, does their job, and truly cares you can bet there are some only care about the paycheck. I have experienced it personally. Until more parents in this district get involved in the schools their kids attend and start getting involved in the politics it won;t change.
Ed P. April 25, 2012 at 03:49 PM
It is very simple everyone. REMEMBER who the 3 board members are that voted to do this and the 2 that voted against. Come election time, DO NOT vote for the 3. That is EXACTLY what I am doing and I know of at least 50 others (and I am sure the number will grow) that will be doing the same thing.
Betsey April 25, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Very simple the last time I looked we have seven board members, not five according to your statement above. I believe one of your two who has been on the board a number of years, has also been there for pay raises of administrators on top. So you evidently agree with that position, the majority of the community I believe to think we are indeed top heavy on the admin. level. You honestly feel that our middle schools DO NOT NEED ANY DEANS. I for one disagree from having a child attend middle school and now in high school. There is alot more issues in middle schools now then there used to be. All I hear from fellow parents of high school students is how we very rarely have problems on the high school level. MInd you, I used to be a parent that questioned the amount of deans we had on the high school level. But now I wonder (after talking to a fellow parent)if maybe we have enough, and that's why it is under control. Also, remember the Deans are considered a teacher. They are a member of the teachers union. So if you cut them, again we are loosing teachers. Also please read the first paragraph of this article.If the verbage is correct and I quote "teachers who retire or resign may not be replaced, the school board decided Monday." So if this is a correct statement they have either resigned or are retiring. So in essence their job was not cut, it just is not being filled. If this is true,there is a savings there. Unless someone was forced into retirement, or resigning.
Sheila Raddatz April 25, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Betsey, I agree with the middle school deans. I have had interaction in the middle school environment in our district. I would be hard pressed to find such dedicated people in any corporate environment that we have at our middle school level. The staff that I encountered is over worked and I fear that they will get burnt out if they don't receive the support that they need.
Heather Drake April 25, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I am sorry, but I have to disagree. I currently have a 7th grader at HGMS & we do not have a dean at our school & yet seem to run just fine. In fact, of the seven middle schools, four are currently running without deans. If you look at the high schools, two have four deans while the other two have five, why the inconsistency? In my opinion, if the BOE was going to reinstate 7 positions in this district they would have been better served reinstating the 7 instructional tech teachers at the middle school level than the 7 deans. Our students are at such a detriment when it comes to technology & losing teachers/instruction in the middle school only puts us further behind. According to our district salaries listed on the Family Taxpayers Foundation Website, it appears our district would have saved approximately $30,000 by reinstating the IT teachers rather than the Deans. I could be wrong, but spending less money and directly benefitting student learning - seems as though that would have been a smarter move!

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