District 205 staffing proposals presented; Collins urges caution

By Chris Fox

The District 205 School Board meeting held Tuesday, March 12 included a presentation on the district’s staffing proposals for the 2024-25 school year.

Joseph Schumacher, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, stated that the district is in the process of staffing its schools for the 2024-25 school year. According to information provided by the district, the district has 717.62 certified full-time equivalent positions during the current 2023-24 school year. The district is proposing to add another 7.62 full-time equivalent positions in the upcoming school year. Those additional positions include 4.13 English Language (EL) positions and 2.73 special education positions.

Board member Jim Collins noted that he joined the board in 2009. He commented that in early 2010, the district did not have enough money to pay its bills and that it had paid some of its May bills in June of that year. He said the district avoided a crisis and had to ask certified staff members to take zero pay raises for two years. He said the district also had to lay off more than 50 people. Collins said that over the last 10 years, the district’s enrollment has grown by about 100 students. He said the district has added about 95 teachers during the last 10 years. He said the district should be very careful and vigilant to make sure it can afford what it is doing.

District 205 Superintendent Keisha Campbell noted that state mandates require the district to add some additional positions to meet the needs of its English Language (EL) learners. Collins said he didn’t question the need for the additional positions, but he cautioned the district to plan carefully.