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Dates Set to Talk Cuts in District 186
District 186 educators came to the Monday night school board meeting hoping to make a statement. Two elementary schools and 135 jobs are on the line. The Springfield Education Association (SEA) asked as many teachers as possible to make it to the meeting.
They did that knowing there would be no budget decisions made at the meeting. The union represents 1300 district employees.
In addressing the school board, SEA President Dan Ford acknowledged the district’s tight budget. He asked, though, if the district and community could afford not to keep these mostly educator positions.
“Our members are leaders in their field," Ford said. "Our members are well aware of what it takes to help our students be successful, and that they should definitely listen to what those members have to say."
Before Ford addressed the board, a District 186 parent spoke about her son’s issues with bullying. Dana Goodrum is the mother of a third grader who was taken to the hospital two times after being kneed in the crotch twice in eight days.
“When I read the article about the proposed cuts to the budget, my immediate thought and the overlying message I want to deliver tonight is that you currently, as a district, cannot manage the environments you currently have for our students,” Goodrum said.
Milton just proposed the cuts last week, and reminded both the board and educators that they are early in the process. He has put out a schedule to discuss each of the areas that could see cuts.
“With consolidation, there's a lot of fact finding that we're doing, and we want to make sure that we have ample discussions with those schools that we're talking about,” Superintendent Dr. Walter Milton said.
They’ll discuss cuts at the central office on November 19, high school level cuts on December 3, middle school cuts on December 17, and elementary schools and consolidations on January 7. By February 4, the board will tackle fees and possibly take final actions on recommendations made up to that point.