According to the Illinois State Board of Education, East St. Louis School District 189 is continuing to lose students. And what are they doing to reverse this trend? What is immediately clear is that the district has been losing students ongoing for years. According to state records, in 1998 the student population was around 11,400, and in 2015 just over 6,000. The decrease in population has resulted in closed schools and sending fifth-graders to Clark and Lincoln Middle Schools to use unoccupied space and closing Miles Davis Kindergarten Center, moving them to the existing elementary school.
The state stepped in and appointed their own superintendent at twice the salary with half the population. The question then is what were the goals of the superintendent, what has improved under his leadership, are student test scores up, is the budget balanced, what is teacher morale and has he submitted an annual state of the district report?
A community that is decreasing in size will mean a decrease in students, resulting in an even smaller district, and if the district doesn’t improve, parents will continue to take students out and not put them in. The district should and must release a public accountability to the community answering these questions. And ISBE must stop sitting back and sanctioning this behavior. And who has been the board president during these times? No doubt it’s time for a change in leadership.
Roosevelt Fair-Kincaid, East St. Louis