• Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Kaneland ‘honourably dismisses’ 9 school support staff – Shaw Local

ByJulie J. Helfer

Apr 26, 2022

Kaneland has honorably terminated nine Intervention Response Staff (RTI) members for the 2022-2023 school year due to the transition from an RTI model to a Multilevel Support System (MTSS) model.

The Kaneland Community School District 302 School Board voted 4 to 1 at Monday night’s meeting in favor of a staff reduction for Stephanie Ortegel, Mona Fergus, Christine Noel, Sara Chumbley, Judy Franck, Jennifer Biddle, Kathy Kerry, Melissa Lacey and Adam Wittman.

Ryan Kerry was the only board member to vote against the recommendation. Addam Gonzalez, Bob Mankivsky, Jennifer Simmons and Teresa Witt voted in favor while Aaron Lawler abstained and Meg Junk was absent.

“I just can’t support moving people who do their jobs well out of their jobs,” Kerry said.

The Illinois state school code, per the Support Professionals’ Education Association of Kaneland (SPEAK) collective bargaining agreement, necessitated the layoff of the nine, which included five RTI teaching assistants and four center assistants. of learning resources. All but one of the nine are at the elementary level.

“It’s an unenviable process,” said Dr. Chris Adkins, Kaneland’s chief human resources officer. “It’s not something we appreciate at all.”

Witt shared a historical perspective from the board’s perspective as she served on all of SPEAK’s negotiating teams.

“We know everyone is doing a great job – that’s not the point – but if we didn’t follow the seniority guidelines we would be breaking labor laws,” she said. “It would be an unfair labor practice so it’s sort of a necessary evil and every step of the way it’s been approved by the board. Cutting the rug tonight at the tiny step before full implementation doesn’t seem right.

A handful of people spoke out against the firing of staff during public comments, including Rachel Ramos, director of library resources at Harter Middle School in Sugar Grove.

“I urge you, as a council, to visit our elementary schools and speak with the teachers,” she said. “Don’t rely on district staff to make sure everything is going well, that students are getting enough instruction, and that library collections are meeting their needs. Ask teachers what they need in their schools when it comes to libraries and how a certified librarian would help them meet their standards. I think you might be surprised at what you learn.

Noel held back tears while explaining that such personnel changes are likely to harm children.

“Their lives have been disrupted enough with COVID, masks and e-learning,” she said. “A change like this could be significant in the emotional impact on them.”

Kristen Stalcup, a resident of Sugar Grove, reiterated to the board that it would be the children who would be most affected by this decision.

“The impact they have on these students is incredible because they not only care about the books, but they care about these children and do everything they can to foster a love of reading, and we know that reading is incredibly important when it comes to education,” she says, “I have to imagine the other [learning resource center staff members]if they are near Mrs. [Mona] Fergus, our kids are being helped a lot right now and it would be an incredible disservice to take that away from them.

Although the Learning Resource Center staff members have been terminated, they will be immediately recalled and offered other positions within the District for the upcoming school year based on seniority as required by law. of the state, board policy, the SPEAK contact, and past practices.

Kaneland currently has 18 planned openings for 2022-2023.