Cuts enacted by the D86 Board as a result of the failed November referendum continue to become reality. The Board’s vote to staff classes more strictly at 25:1 is resulting in the reduction of valued District 86 teachers. The recommendation according to the March 4 Board agenda shows that 17 teachers will be forced out of the District.
In December, personnel cuts began with notification to members of support staff who were losing their jobs.
Next the teachers will be notified. Currently, talented D86 teachers are requesting letters of recommendation from their trusted department chairs and principals as they complete applications for vacancies in neighboring districts.
As the Board documents in the agenda explain, lower enrollment accounts for some reduction in staff. But, the failed November referendum prompted the decision to move to the strict 25:1 model for scheduling: “Average class sizes increased more than that in elective areas because in the past we have run more elective classes at smaller class sizes in an effort to give students the courses they want.” It is a change that reduces students’ opportunity to take their first choice courses. It was not standard practice for District 86 in prior years and accounts for much of the recommended reduction in teachers.
In addition to the cuts to athletics and activities, students have now lost course opportunities and trusted teachers. As teachers, we’re concerned about the impact this strict staffing framework may have on the District’s tradition of excellence.