Proposed District 36 cuts
Updated: March 29, 2012 4:15PM
In the very same week that District 36 Human Relations Director Maureen Cheever proposed cutting special education staff to save money, press announced new district office renovations. For $749,800, or $192 per square foot, the district administration now has beautiful offices, “equipped with the latest technology to handle mobile devices and wireless communication.”
Quality education does not begin with cutting staff-student ratio. Instead of cutting people who participate in the classroom as a whole and support children who struggle the most, spending cuts should start with those that do not directly interact with students. Instead of spreading classroom teachers increasingly thin and decreasing their ability to differentiate for all students, we might require more of our well-paid administrative personnel.
Dr. Cheever’s memo aims to achieve savings by cutting staff in accordance with declining general enrollment, but these numbers are not proportionate to ongoing responses to interventions (RTIs), current or future individualized education programs (IEPs), and the district’s existing legal obligations to maintain them. If special education staff is cut and the needs of their students are not met, the district will have to re-hire some of the same staff just let go, thus mitigating savings.
As parents of children in District 36, we support efforts to balance fiscal responsibility and quality education. Dr. Cheever’s recent proposal to cut staffing for special education sabotages both of these goals.
Jim and Amy O’Donnell