District 227 cuts administrators
By Sarah Zylstra Correspondent May 16, 2012 4:30PM
Updated: June 29, 2012 9:09AM
Rich Township High School District 227 class sizes won’t change next year despite last month’s decision to cut 48 teachers and 33 support staff, administrators say.
“We’re still at roughly 27 to 29” students per class, Supt. Donna Leak said at Tuesday’s school board meeting for the district that serves students from Matteson and Richton Park and parts of Park Forest, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Olympia Fields, University Park and Tinley Park.
That’s because the district cut the number of daily class periods from seven to six next year so fewer teachers are needed because fewer classes are being offered, she said.
The teacher and staff cuts, along with the elimination of six administrative staff, should save the district $6 million next year, according to Assistant Supt. Ilandus Hampton. Of that, the administrative cuts made at Tuesday’s meeting will save $651,300, he said.
The administrative cuts were achieved by consolidating 11 positions into five, Leak said. For example, one consolidation calls for department heads to instead be offered stipends to be a “lead teacher,” Leak said.
“Our total administrative staff for next year will be 19,” she said. That number is down from 25 this year.
“All of the work that we have to do still exists,” Leak said. “We’re holding people accountable for doing more, is really what it comes down to.”
Despite the changes, students shouldn’t be adversely affected, she said.
Yet, with the tighter schedule, fewer students are choosing fine arts and career tech courses, Assistant Supt. Jennifer Norrell said.
Just 30 career and technical classes had enough student interest to be offered next year, compared with 40 for the 2011-12 school year. And 14 courses in the fine arts filled up for next year, compared with 20 this year, she said.
“Across the country, that is the trend that those are the areas that go first because those are the areas that are not necessarily needed for college readiness,” school board member Alyssa Hernandez said.
“But there is a minority of students that stay in school because they have those fine arts options and career tech education options,” she said. “What are we doing as a district to help those students to still stay in school?”
Independent studies or districtwide classes may be an option for students who want to take less popular classes, director of human resources Selma McDonald said.