Sunday, May 11, 2008

Peoria Schools: Stop the Insanity!

After taking a few days to reflect upon the ramifications of the outrageous decision of the District 150 Board of Education last Monday night, I have finally calmed down enough to post about it. Had I posted the same day or morning after, it probably would have looked something like this.

Anyhoo, at some point, our city leadership, parents, and tax payers have gotta start scratching their heads over the circus that District 150 has become.

Consider this: A child attending Dunlap schools will attend school for 420 minutes daily. A child entering D150 Schools, after this vote, will attend school for 345 minutes a day, a full 18% reduction of time spent in school. The cumulative loss for a child attending D150 Schools from 1st through 4th grade as compared to Dunlap will be nearly 7 months of school. This same vote also reduced the amount of specialty teachers (science, music, PE and computers) in each school by approximately half.

Despite these drastic measures, and despite repeated requests from parents and teachers alike, D150 would not provide one SHRED of evidence that a reduced school day and a cut in specialty instruction would improve academic performance.

This "Einstein" vote saved the District less than 1/2 of 1% of their annual budget. Parents and teachers railed against the proposal arguing that cuts should be made in Administration before cuts are made that would directly impact the children. But members of the board insisted their admin costs were right in line with other districts.

Why then, does the school report card linked to on their own website indicate that D150 has 163 students for every Administrator, while the state average has 231 students for every administrator, a full 30% more Administrators than the state average.

And despite what the Board and Admin. will lead you to believe, this District is not destitute. In School Year 2005/06, the District spent $11,521. per student, compared to the state average of $9,488. So, there is plenty of money, they just can't figure out how to use it, and our children will soon be paying the price.

Seriously, what do the parents, city leaders and taxpayers in Peoria plan to do about the fact that our school district seems perfectly capable of single handedly ruining this town? Will we wait until there is not a single self respecting family left in the public school system? Will we wait until we realize that the children of Peoria are not keeping up with their Dunlap (or Edison) counterparts due to the fact that they spend 18% less time in school? Seriously, folks - all the City planning, hard work and great news in the world won't make a hill of beans difference if our schools are in the crapper.

Soon you will be offered opportunities to voice your opinion and make a difference. Please stay tuned. I call upon the Mayors of Peoria and West Peoria, The Council Members of same, The Regional Superintendent of Schools, Gerald Brookhart, a wonderful man, to stand up, look Mr. Ken Hinton and his merry band of rubber stampers in the eye and say "STOP THE INSANITY!" C'mon people, put down the remote, pul-lease check my math (and I'm serious), engage thyself, and lets get busy. This is our children's future we are talking about!


PrairieCelt said...

Wonderful post! It is past time for Peorians to stand up and say, "we are mad as hell and we won't take it any more!"

Where has Gerald Brookhart been in all this mess? District #150 is a district that is not achieving - they are not making AYP. Accordingly, the state has specific rules for dealing with that circumstance. Why are they being so quiet?

Bring Mr. Vallas back now. Peoria's children won't survive much longer without him.

Merle Widmer said...

I have been up to the challenge since 1994 when I finished third behind Jan Deissler and Bob Baietto in a field of 6 on the big debate over the teaching of sex (I mean sex education) in the classroom.

The JSEB endorsed a woman because it was the "Year of Women" in Business and she was teaching.

I'm not up to running for a FIVE YEAR SENTENCE now.

I have met with Bill Collier twice at the Mayor's suggestion ans will meet with Mr. Collier again soon.

Did you read my comment on C.J.'s post recently when he was blogging about #150?

Conrad said...

They are called Peoria Public Schools. I interpret that to mean that they operate, or should operate, with the will and consent of the Peoria Public. It is our school system. If it is not doing the job the public expects, then it is time for some CHANGE!

Anonymous said...

Great post! Back in April, my husband and I went back and forth on the decision to enroll our daughter in dist. 150 or St. Phil's for Kindergarten.

Reg. her on the 24th of April and then this happens. I am so disappointed! Guess where she goes in first grade is a no-brainer. Need to be making the call now as I am sure these schools will be filling up.

What I want to know is how many of our good old admin. have kids of their own going to school in 150? My bet is none.

kid.p said...

Congratulations to Diane Vespa for having the courage to stand up for the elementary students of PPS. We need to ask why this decision was made without any input from parents, teachers, or community organizations that have a direct link to PPS...for example any private school, special need services, daycare centers etc.

Here are some questions that come to mind.

1. Have PPS parents been advised of all the changes in transportation that will be necessary to implement this ridiculous change?

2. Have parents of special needs students been advised of the change...we have several students from outlying districts that depend on services provided by PPS.

3. Has a new heat schedule been published?

4. Who is going to monitor the common prep time that has been tauted as the reason for this illustrious decision?

5. When will parents have time to meet with teachers?

6. Who was contacted as experts other than the adminstrative staff at 3202?

7.Are all required minutes being met in every academic area including the arts? Is the instruction from a qualified educator?

8. Will elementary students have enough minutes to count as a day for all the designated professional development days?

9. Was the decision that was voted on legal?

10. Who thought of what is best for children?

Maybe Gerald Brookhart's office needs to address some of these questions.

Anonymous said...

One year at Peoria Academy (the best school in Peoria) is about $6,500 per year. Compare that to what D-150 spends on the average public school kid. Now explain why a quality school cost a fraction of what d-150 does. And for the record Peoria Academy has great arts, music, and sports programs.