Belleville School District 201 school board members approved dismissing three full-time and one part-time teacher during their monthly meeting Monday night, and district officials say more staff reductions could be decided at next month's meeting.
Assistant Superintendent Brian Mentzer said the reductions are necessary, because the State of Illinois is not paying its financial obligations to the district in a timely manner. Currently, the state owes the district $2.1 million with an additional $1 million coming due at the end of March.
"It is highly unlikely that the State of Illinois will be able to fulfill this additional burden," Mentzer said.
District officials met with the teachers impacted on Friday. Mentzer described it as "an emotional time for everyone." State law requires certified teachers be notified of any layoffs at least 45 days before the end of the school year. These cuts are commonly referred to as "reductions in force."
In spite of the reductions, Mentzer said district officials have done what they could to protect academic programs. "We have been very thoughtful in making sure we don't hurt the educational experience for kids," he said.
In addition to the teacher layoffs effective at the end of this school year, six teachers are retiring, and Mentzer said it's uncertain at this time if the district will be replacing those teachers. The district currently employs approximately 295 certified teachers.
District officials decided to wait until the April board meeting to make a decision on reductions to noninstructional support staff, according to Mentzer.
"We are still formulating a plan on that," he said. "There is going to be some cuts."
Over the past two years, District 201 has also decreased the number of administrators including one technology administrator, two assistant principals and one central office administrators, Mentzer said.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or email@example.com.