Teacher Layoffs

Teacher Layoffs
By: Arnold Wyrick

(Du Quoin, IL)--Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich delivered his State of the State address on Wednesday in Springfield, Il. In it, he promised to solve the state's budget problems.

But the state of the state's budget has already forced one Heartland school district to layoff some teachers and cut services for students. Du Quoin's Superintendent Gary Kelly tells Heartland News that administrators had no choice in laying some teachers off to balance their budget. "It's devastating, it's a very difficult situation," says Kelly. " Because not only are you impacting those people's lives, but your impacting the lives of their family. And your also impacting the lives of kids," Kelly said.

The district is predicting they'll be $600,000.00 dollars in the red for the upcoming fiscal year. "We've been trying to hold on for the past three years and not do this. But it's come to the point that we don't know what next year may hold. We had to take these steps.

Overall the State's budget is nearly $5-billion dollars in the red. "I think then worst situation would be that nobody would be recalled and that the forced layoff notices would stand," said Kelly. The layoffs won't take effect until fall, but their impact is already being felt in the community. "The teachers are the main things in the kids lives right now, because they are who they're learning from," says Julie Osburne.

Students also share Osburne's feeling about laying off some of their teachers. "I think a lot of the students next year are going to be missing a couple of classes that they'll need by cutting back these teachers. And there's some pretty good teachers losing their jobs," says Ricky Oakely a Du Quoin Senior.

Superintendent Kelly says there's a chance that some of the teachers could be rehired if the district can find a way to juggle their finances between now and next fall. "Our hope is that the money will be there, and that we can bring some of the positions back," Kelly said.