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Process to make ISD166 staff changes begins

At their March 17 meeting, the Cook County Schools ISD166 board began the process of redesigning teaching positions and the school calendar for 2010-11.

Three probationary teacher’s contracts were not renewed. Because the teachers were not cut, all three will likely reapply for their positions, according to Superintendent Beth Schwarz. She said two of the positions are deemed “hard to fill” and the licensed teachers holding those slots are not specifically certified in the area so they are on a variance.  Schwarz said, “Legally, we have to repost the position every year until the teacher has appropriate certification.”

The two teachers are April Wahlstrom, a Special Education teacher and Eric Frost, an Early Childhood Special Ed teacher.

Kerri Bilben is a part time music instructor.  Since band instructor Bill Tormondsen has resigned, the District legally needs to post the open band position.  Schwarz said that rather than post a part-time slot, the District did not renew Bilben’s position and will, instead post a full time K-12 music position which Schwarz expects Bilben to apply for.

 Twelve other teachers were notified of proposed partial or full-time placement on unrequested leave of absence. Ann Russ, Julie Brandt and Mike McHugh are three teachers whose positions are being cut. The remainder will see varying degrees of partial reductions in time.

Schwarz said this is the first formal step in the process. The teachers impacted by the decision have been notified by letter and they have 14 days to request a hearing to object on legal grounds. She said any hearings will most likely take place in April.

In the meantime Schwarz and the board will fine tune the $6 million budget, vote on staff adjustments in May and on the final budget in June. The District is facing over $440,000 in reductions for 2010-11 in order to balance the budget.