Teacher layoffs continue in Metro East

School districts across Illinois are slashing jobs to make up for shortfalls from the state. Belleville 118 is the third in the Metro East to announce layoffs in recent weeks.

Tuesday night, the Belleville District 118 Board of Education approved laying off a first year teacher and 24 other para-professionals. It's not the first district to make these cuts and it won't be the last.

"Right now, we are not sure what our state funding is going to be for next year," Assistant Superintendent Ryan Boike said. "Our general state aid has been prorated the last three years in a row, which has resulted in a loss of over a million dollars each of those three years.

Boike says that state aid is their largest source of revenue. Between these layoffs and retiring teachers whose spots won't be filled, the district expects to save about $750,000.

"The funding system in Illinois is broken. And until the state figures that out, we're going to continue to struggle with budgeting for the next school year."

"I think that the layoffs across the state are profoundly worrisome. And the fact that the state is having a difficult time paying its bills and supporting public education is very worrisome for everyone," adds Dr. Vicki Scott.

Scott is the assistant dean in the School of Education at SIU-Edwardsville. She worries about the impact these layoffs will have across the state.

"Unfortunately what I think is going to happen is you're going to see classroom size grow, which means more students in a classroom per teacher. And that always impacts the quality of education."

Ryan Boike hopes to bring some of the laid off employees back once there's more certainty about state funding moving forward.


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