Cuts enacted by the D86 Board as a result of the failed November referendum to high profile items like football and marching band dominate the headlines. These seem far off, and some have been spreading word that cuts are not real but just a scare tactic. This couldn’t be further from the current reality for District 86 employees.
As a result of the failed November referendum, the Board voted on cuts not only to sports and activities but also to employees. Shortly before the holidays, multiple District 86 employees from support staff to administrators were notified personally that their positions have been eliminated or downgraded. Employees carried notice of their final dates of employment to holiday celebrations with colleagues, family, and friends.
Teachers will be next, as staffing decisions for next year take place prior to Spring Break. According to the the Board’s own projections, their vote to increase in class size to 25% above state average will result in the reduction of valued District 86 teachers. Currently, talented D86 teachers are readying their resumes and looking for new positions in local districts in response to the likelihood that a reduction in force will cut their employment. Because most districts hold interviews for next year’s teaching positions in the early spring, many talented teachers at South and Central have no choice but to prepare their resumes and interview for teaching positions in area districts while they staff next year’s positions. There is no going back for these teachers. The cuts are real for them right now. Once they have been hired by neighboring schools, a successful April referendum will be too late to keep our respected teachers, coaches, and sponsors.
Despite what some may say, make no mistake: these cuts are real, and they are here now. People have already been given notice with more to come. As teachers, we’re concerned about the impact this is having on the District’s tradition of excellence.