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12K Plus Pink Slips in Illinois; “It’s Off the Charts”

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(Any emphases included are mine unless otherwise noted. LD)

Less than two weeks ago (March 9, 2010) I warned the public school iceberg is melting, but I didn’t think it would happen quite this quickly. The “ink” isn’t even dry on yesterday’s report about massive teacher layoffs in California and the closing of a quarter of Detroit’s public schools in June, and it’s rapidly followed by Kate McCann’s article titled “Southland Teachers Face Mass Layoffs” at southtownstar.com. Like California, how many teachers return to work depends on a state budget still incomplete.

pinkslip

I think Mr. Swanson underestimates the intelligence of the people of Illinois.

“A statewide (Illinois) survey sent to every school district in February,” writes McCann, “showed about 12, 400 school staff members are expected to lose their jobs. And the number is expected to climb.”

Ken Swanson, president of the Illinois Education Association adds, “It’s off the charts. It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s unchartered territory, and I’m not sure the citizens of the state really understand how devastating these cuts will be to the quality of education.”

I think Mr. Swanson underestimates the intelligence of the people of Illinois. The crumbling economy is already and has been for some time devastating to the quality of life for multi-millions of Americans; get in line.

McCann does a good job revealing the story on an individual school basis. Cases in point:

“Crete-Monee is considering axing more than 100 non-tenured teachers; Lincoln-Way already has decided to lay off more than 50 staffers.”

Alsip, Hazelgreen, and Oak Lawn School District 126 are holding their heads above water because of a 2006 property tax increase. Oak Lawn Community High School is on its last year of additional funding from a “temporary tax hike passed through referendum in 2007.”

Chicago Ridge School District 127.5 is reportedly eliminating its preschool program, cutting 10-15 support staff, and letting go more than 30 non-tenured teachers.

Lincoln-Way District 210 isn’t giving any raises and eliminating 38 teachers and 13 support staff.

Rich Township High School District 227 eliminated three administrative positions and every department cut its budget by 10 percent “by cutting back on supplies and travel.” This has saved the district $1.4 million.

Summit Hill School District 161 eliminated four teachers, two aides, one special-ed teacher, one part-time elective teacher and a part-time speech therapist.

Several districts are cutting payroll “by not filling positions as they open up.”

McCann doesn’t hammer home this point, but a couple of comments in the report lead a reader to believe this isn’t a new problem for Illinois at all, to wit:

“Thanks to the double whammy of late state aid payments…;”

“’When the state writes you a letter and says we can’t give you your $3.1 million in categorical payments due to us in November, and we can’t give it to you in March, that’s a dangerous situation,’ Giannetti (Bloom Township High School District 206 Superintendent) said.”

Stay tuned, Parents at the Helm. I’m sure more reports are just over the horizon.

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