Cahokia superintendent retires after 33 years

Cahokia School District 187 Superintendent Art Ryan
Cahokia School District 187 Superintendent Art Ryan

Cahokia Superintendent Art Ryan’s retirement started Tuesday, with another administrator filling in for the rest of the school year.

The Cahokia District 187 School Board picked Assistant Superintendent Tanya Mitchell to replace Ryan temporarily.

Ryan worked in the district for 33 years, starting as a math teacher. Ryan also served as president of the teachers’ union and human resources director before becoming superintendent in 2012.

Ryan said that he had been involved in every contract negotiation since 1989, which is why he offered to help one more time.

According to Ryan, he asked to start his retirement early in May so he could come back to help over the summer, which is when he said the school board plans to negotiate new employee contracts, including with the teachers union.

During his tenure, Ryan advocated for education funding from the state.

As Illinois leaders continue arguing about state funding for education, local educators are estimating how long they can operate without that money.

He was one of the superintendents who traveled to Springfield last year to draw attention to a lawsuit that Illinois school districts serving low-income students filed against state leaders for funding.

The suit, which was filed in St. Clair County, is still ongoing. Among the plaintiffs are Cahokia District 187 as well as Fairview Height’s Grant District 110.

Ryan also traveled to Vandalia in 2016 to encourage Illinois legislators to pass a budget and send money to schools. The state budget impasse lasted from 2015 to 2017.

Even after lawmakers approved a budget in Illinois, they continued debating on school funding reform. Last month, the Illinois State Board of Education announced how much the districts will get this school year.

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to correctly identify the job Art Ryan planned to do for the district over the summer.

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