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Could Proposed Cuts Hurt Classroom?
Only a handful of schools in Springfield's District 186 met performance targets set by the Federal No Child Left Behind Act. That news is unsettling for many parents, considering a recent proposal to cut teaching jobs.
Superintendent Walter Milton wants to cut nearly 140 positions. About 100 of them are teaching staff. The cuts are expected to save $8 million from next year's budget, but how will that impact students?
Five schools in District 186 are meeting adequate yearly progress. That's not surprising considering 66 percent of schools in Illinois didn't make the grade. But if nearly 100 teachers are eliminated in District 186, some fear that might make things worse.
Schools and school districts all over the state struggle to meet adequate yearly progress, a federal guideline.
"It's part of an accountability process that was put into place to look at how schools are doing," Matt Vanover from the State Board of Education said. "Essentially, to give a grade to schools."
AYP takes into account graduation rates, attendance, and test scores. For District 186, a strong majority of schools didn't make AYP. Some of that has to do with standards getting tougher. The federal law wants all students achieving or exceeding education standards by 2014.
For District 186, if 100 teachers are eliminated, something proposed by Superintendent Walter Milton because of budget cuts, could students have a worse classroom experience? Milton says no, but others disagree.
"It's unsettling because how are we supposed to educate our students?," Dan Ford from the Springfield Education Association asked. "How are we supposed to maintain the quality education we believe and what our students should have?"
Ford also said District 186 received only 80 percent of what they were supposed to receive from the state of Illinois. That's typical nowadays. The state currently owes school districts $580 million.
"The state and federal governments are expecting more and more from educators," Ford said. "Yet, they expect us to do it with less."
The State Board of Education said over the past three years, there has been a reduction of almost $900 million in state funding for schools.
District 186 isn't alone when it comes to failing to meet adequate yearly progress. 82 percent of districts in Illinois didn't either. Out of 671 high schools in Illinois, only 11 met the standards based on test scores.
Superintendent Milton's budget plan calls for the elimination of a total of 139 positions and the closing of two schools. The non-teaching jobs that would be eliminated include librarians, administrators, and custodians. It's unclear how many jobs would be cut through attrition or through layoffs.
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A.C. CENTRAL SCHOOLS
EARLY DISMISSAL 1:30 PM
TRIOPIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
EARLY DISMISSAL 2:15PM
VIRGINIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
EARLY DISMISSAL 1:00 PM