District 150 announces layoffs

By Katherine Tellez

April 14, 2014 Updated Apr 15, 2014 at 10:40 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The District 150 School Board unanimously approved laying off almost 200 full-time and part-time employees Monday night.

That includes 66 teachers receiving an honorable discharge, 40 more than last year, 22 teachers currently on probation, 73 hourly teachers and 36 full and part-time educational support staff.

The layoffs come as the district faces a $6 million deficit this fiscal year.

The board said they knew last fall that there would be a deficit due to state aid, and have concerns about that aid going forward.

Because district leaders do not know what their revenue will look like next year, they say they are forced into these decisions. They add these decisions will only get tougher as revenue is expected to decrease even more in the coming years.

"Every year the district lays off a healthy number of teachers, then the next year ends up having to hire the same number of teachers or more back," said Jeff Adkins-Dutro, President of the Peoria Federation of Teachers. "The problem is that these quality teachers end up finding jobs elsewhere and then the district is stuck with a shortfall."

The district hopes once they get their numbers for state aid in July or August, they will be able to recall many of these positions.

"The requirement to notify and then the notification of how much we have from the state of Illinois is completely backwards," said School Board President Rick Cloyd. "And as a result we have to do these things in this fashion. And I know there are many fine and capable and outstanding teachers that are impacted by this and that is incredibly regrettable."

The board also voted to pay the City of Peoria almost $180,000 for the hours police officers were stationed at the high schools and Woodruff Career and Technical Center from January through June.

But several board members agreed that this can not be a permanent solution.

"We need the presence of an armed officer in our high schools but in my opinion we can't continue with this particular situation because we can't afford this.. It's way, way too expensive," said Vice President Debbie Wolfmeyer."

It was also announced that Peoria Stadium will be used for home football games in the fall.

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