District 61 Adds Four Positions for 2012-13 School Year
The board's vote means Lace School could rehire two teachers whose jobs were eliminated for the upcoming school year.
After cutting six positions in March, the District 61 School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to add four staff members.
The PE teacher and guidance counselor roles are new positions. The move means, however, the district may rehire some Lace employees whose positions were eliminated for the 2012-13 school year. The latest enrollment reports show the schools will have more students next year than previously expected.
Adding third- and fourth-grade teachers would enable Lace to have seven sections at each of those grade levels. It would reduce the third-grade class size to 23 from 27 and lower the fourth-grade class size to 24 from 28.
The extra sections would also lower the class size for the sections dedicated to at-risk students, Superintendent Bob Carlo said. Students in respond-to-intervention classes receive extra instruction in areas such as reading.
“As you keep increasing the size of that class, you diminish the effect of that class,” he said.
Class size also served as the impetus for the board’s decision to add a PE teacher at Eisenhower.
Several of the school’s gym classes enroll more than 40 students. Because the school puts two classes in the gym at a time, there’s the potential to have more than 80 students running around the space.
The guidance counselor role that the board voted to add would fill a gap that was left when the district eliminated the position in 2005. The counselor would direct Eisenhower’s anti-bullying initiatives, work with at-risk students, and collaborate with the school’s social worker and health aid.
Board member Eric Goldbranson said the position could prove beneficial.
“At this stage, you can still get in (students’) heads,” he said. “They’re still willing to listen. They still want to please.”
Board member Deborah Gaspari questioned whether it was a good idea to add a new position when the district’s future financial position is uncertain.
Board President Bob Rzeszutko said that the board shouldn’t base its decision on unknown factors like that.
“If we have the opportunity to do it now and benefit as many students as possible, then if we didn’t do it, we’d be shirking our responsibility,” he said.
The board did not discuss the financial impact of adding the positions.