EAST MOLINE, Illinois - East Moline parents and teachers are speaking out about planned cuts in the school district. The possible cutbacks come days after the teachers union and the district agreed to pay hikes in a new contract.
As many as 15 teaching positions may be cut by the end of this school year. During the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 parents and teachers addressed the school board to say employee cuts may be the wrong way to go.
The board is looking to cut Pre-K because of Illinois grant changes along with elementary title one and middle school reading teachers, administrative interns, one music teacher, one English as a second language teacher and three elementary classroom teachers totaling a minimum of 15 reductions.
The board also wants to restructure its services and thinks it can come up with a more economical way.
Superintendent Kristin Humphries says the district cannot afford to give teachers raises without making cuts. Humphries says the district is still owed over a million dollars from the state of Illinois.
“We are underfunded from the state and we do have to pay for the raises that were just given,” said Humphries.
“We were obviously glad to get a contract but we have been reassured the contract wasn't a direct correlation to the contract being made,” said Angela Harrell, with the East Moline Education Association.
During the meeting, the teacher's union suggested creating a task force with the board to find other areas to cut.
The state of Illinois has rules on how many days before the end of the school year can cut teachers. For East Moline and non-tenure teachers its 45 days. Humphries says positions will most likely be cut soon.
“Right now it will be awful hard to pull a wide community group that might not understand all the financial issues,” said Humphries. Honorably dismissing some incredibly awesome teachers will be difficult because we know what they bring to our school district."
A specific plan for teacher cutbacks will be announced during a meeting on Monday, March 27, 2017 and there could be even more cuts in April affecting hourly staff.