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D. 65 Teachers, Parents Out in Force to Protest Proposed Cuts

Monday night's board of education meeting was packed with teachers and parents who oppose a plan to reduce some fine arts and physical education staff while increasing the workload of others.

A total of 40 people had signed up to speak Monday evening, board president Katie Bailey announced at the beginning of the meeting.

Teachers wearing "I Educate" shirts crowded the floor of the administration building before the meeting began, chanting, "We want respect." 

As part of its plan to balance the 2012-13 budget, the district has proposed to reduce its fine arts and physical education staff by six positions. Four of those cuts would be made through staff retiring or leaving the district, while art teachers at Dawes and Bessie Rhodes elementary schools have been notified that their jobs are on the line.   

The district is already sharing some art and music teachers among schools, but proposed cuts would mean that every art teacher travels to a different school at least once a week. Each art teacher would have seven 40-minute classes per day, instead of six, meaning students would have the same amount of time with teachers, but teachers would have shorter planning periods. While six schools already have shared arts teachers, , Oakton,  and  have had full-time art and music staff up to this point.

Physical education teacher Peggy Silkaitis was among the early speakers.

"I think it is unreasonable and this increase in classes will negatively impact the quality of our curriculum," she said.

The board of education is expected to discuss the plan following public comment.

For more coverage on the meeting, , which includes a statement from the board of education and several comments by parents and teachers.

Do you have something to say about the district's plan? Write a letter to the editor at jenniferf@patch.com or sign up to blog for Patch.

annie May 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM
It is unfortunate that a few inorant teacher-bashing, anti-union, anti-worker trolls have filled the comments above. . I was at this very inspiring Board meeting and we the people who live in this community and have children in District 65 love our teachers and our schools. We want more funding for our programs, more respect for our teachers who work so hard every day for our kids, and no more program cuts!
lucas May 22, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Spell check and stop name calling. You want more fundingpay user fees
Richard Schulte May 22, 2012 at 02:36 PM
annie: "We want more funding for our programs, more respect for our teachers who work so hard every day for our kids, and no more program cuts!" Teachers work hard? You must be joking. If teachers work so hard, how do they have time to attend all sorts of meetings, rallies and other political events? The public schools in Evanston are only good in comparison to the Chicago Public Schools. In comparison to the schools I went to 50 years ago (in Belleville, Illinois), the Evanston schools are lousy. If teachers want "more respect", they need to stop spending all of their time attending rallies (and riots) and get back into the schools and actually start doing their jobs.
Tea May 22, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I have a youngster in D65 who attends an after-school art program and this child has excelled tremendously in the arts!! It's who she is and because of the art teacher, this child's artistic mind has developed in ways I never thought possible! Kudos to the art teacher and D65 for this much appreciated opportunity! I don't understand the negativity from some of you! Sure we need cuts. Certainly we need to balance the budget. However, we need to look at every paid individual in the system and stop picking on and eliminating those who are doing their jobs! A month or so ago, we were debating the fifth ward school dilemma. Now we're cutting teaching positions? Incredible!!!
Jim May 22, 2012 at 02:57 PM
More funding from where and from whom? Even if the teachers are the most wonderful and the most loved, there is no more money. Taxes are driving people out of Evanston, out of Cook County, out of Chicago and out of Illinois. The teachers talk about money as if it comes from a storeroom somewhere. There is no more money! GET IT?
lucas May 22, 2012 at 03:03 PM
"I have a youngster in D65 who attends an after-school art program " Perhaps User Fees should handle this
Adrienne Williams May 22, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Richard the truth is teachers work overtime at home and on the weekend my stepmom did all the time for free. Blinders man, think outside the box
Debirag May 22, 2012 at 04:34 PM
YOU GO GRRRRL!!!!!!!!!! RIGHT ON
Debirag May 22, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Anyone who is an art educator will know that the majority of students who do not excel at academics learn through the arts which vastly improve their ability to problem-solve, leading to more self-reliance and better performance.
Meghan May 22, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I would also add that it's a very outdated notion that Arts education is frivolous. Research, scads of it, shows that arts education is vital to cognitive development and academic success. There have also been recent articles in the NY Times & WSJ that corporations look for employees that are creative problem solvers & a background with art education is preferred.
june shellene May 22, 2012 at 05:51 PM
We need to start learning about how the big bank/central bank monetary system has systematically dismantled the country, bankrupting us all. What cannot last, will not last. When the dust settles, I hope we can stop arguing, and build the kind of educationally system we ourselves would want to benefit from...not some monstrosity shaped by a "Board" or "Committee" made up of left brained savants.
lucas May 22, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Perhaps the millions the city is spending on building new parking lots and bike lanes would help
Eric Diekhans May 22, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I agree with you, Tea. I don't feel like I can trust the school board anymore. When they wanted to pass the new school referendum, then the future financial picture was rosy. There seemed to be no issue with adding new teachers, staff and a principal. Now, all of a sudden, we can't afford to keep even our current teachers.
Jennifer Fisher (Editor) May 22, 2012 at 06:43 PM
It's great to see a lively discussion going here. Thanks for reading! Just wanted to let you all know that I've posted a longer story on the board meeting, including a statement from the board on the proposed cuts at http://evanston.patch.com/articles/d-65-board-we-are-avoiding-massive-layoffs
lucas May 22, 2012 at 07:43 PM
you need to gather some facts
JJ Jackson May 22, 2012 at 07:46 PM
You cite a riot in Wisconsin often. Besides the American Thinker, who has reported on the teacher riots. The protests in Madison were peaceful. You may be referencing some footage from Fox News that showed rioters in the streets. Too bad the shots weren't from Wisconsin. Turns out Fox showed the footage including palm trees in the background. Looks like you got punk'd by Fox News again. Imagine that.....
june shellene May 23, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Lucas, I have been gathering facts for the past four years. The country is not falling apart, it is being dismantled. The Federal Reserve keeps interests rates near zero. In a normal interest rate environment, the US population would be making $500,000,000,000 (half a trillion) on interest from a simple savings account. However, what the Fed is doing is loaning to the big banks at near zero. The big banks are hitting the casino with those free loans...in the DERIVATIVES market. They win, we lose. Perhaps you've heard about a bank called JPMorgan Chase??? They just posted a 2 going on 20 billion dollar loss on their derivative bets. And bets they are. We are being sold down the river, as naturally, we, the tax payers will be forced to bail out the bigs. The generational impact of what is happening is apparent to us all. In 2011 alone, an additional $13,000 in national debt was added to everyone in the US. So, hey, guess what, the schools and every other thing that serves the people is suddenly "too expensive." And of course, who needs art when profit for a few is all that's important? It's much better for these too bigs not to have a population capable of critical thinking, something for which arts education is. Who knows, maybe one day, we would think critically about this monetary system and how we are being totally screwed.
june shellene May 23, 2012 at 02:39 AM
By the way, if you've been able to get a loan from a bank to start a business or to keep your home, please let me know. From what I understand very few loans to the "little people" are going through.
Richard Schulte May 23, 2012 at 12:35 PM
JJ Jackson: "You cite a riot in Wisconsin often. Besides the American Thinker, who has reported on the teacher riots. The protests in Madison were peaceful. You may be referencing some footage from Fox News that showed rioters in the streets. Too bad the shots weren't from Wisconsin. Turns out Fox showed the footage including palm trees in the background. Looks like you got punk'd by Fox News again. Imagine that....." This has already been discussed on Patch about 8 weeks ago. All you have to do is to Google and you will find video where people are wearing coats and there are no palm trees. If the riot was so non-violent, then how did millions of dollars of damage occur to the state capitol building? Do you really think that we can't use a computer to verify what you say-who makes this silly stuff (palm trees) up? Oh yeah, teachers.
lucas May 23, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Understand that car sales are at a record pace. Homes are selling and people are refinancing. Schools are paid for partly with PROPERTY TAXES. City of Evanston is spending millions on parking lots and private bke lanes for a small per cent of taxpayers. WHO DO YOU THINK IS PAYING FOR THESE THINGS
june shellene May 23, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Lucas, You may find shadowstats.com of interest. Government statistics are not designed to help us figure out what's what. Nor are the corporate media allowed to color outside of the lines. We are lied to daily regarding the economy. Here's a good one. The government doesn't include food or energy costs in their inflation index!!! And people who have given up looking for work and those unable to find full time employment are not included in the unemployment stats. But like I say, the country is not falling apart, it is being dismantled. Not to depress you, but Chicago is the number one surveilled city in the country. We are paying to be spied on, but we can't afford art teachers. Ron Paul has been warning about this calamity for 30 years, but most people think he's too radical and don't pay attention to him. Too late now.
Richard Schulte May 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Mitt Romney: " “Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a Third World education. And America’s minority children suffer the most,” Mr. Romney said in a speech to the Latino Coalition, a conservative Hispanic organization. “This is the civil rights issue of our era. And it’s the great challenge of our time.” And he declared war on teachers unions, saying they “are the clearest example of a group that has lost its way.” He said Mr. Obama is too beholden to the unions to be able to reform the school system." http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katehicks/2012/05/23/awesome_romney_touts_school_choice_declares_war_on_teachers_union Looks like (soon-to-be) President Romney understands how destructive the teachers' unions have been.
Richard Schulte May 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM
"And the fact that the study shows that more than 6500 teachers' jobs were saved by Act 10 gives ample evidence that Walker was not directing his efforts to reform collective bargaining at teachers or any other public employee. This was a case of the people vs. the unions and the people won." Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/05/suffolk_study_walker_collective_bargaining_bill_saved_wisconsin_taxpayers_more_than_1_billion.html#ixzz1vn0prjff
Alice Johnson August 25, 2012 at 01:26 PM
I'm sorry for all the negative teacher bashing here. As a teacher who is going her seventh straight day of working to prepare my classroom (and will probably go in tomorrow and work as well making it 14 straight days). I'm not saying this to complain but to show that I do work hard. I'm fairly certain if a business said to their employee, 'you'll need to set up you work area on your own time' most employees would be up in arms. Yet for the past two weekends my colleagues and I have been at school. No complaints. All I want is a little respect as a professional
Richard Schulte August 25, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Alice Johnson: "I'm sorry for all the negative teacher bashing here. As a teacher who is going her seventh straight day of working to prepare my classroom (and will probably go in tomorrow and work as well making it 14 straight days). . . .All I want is a little respect as a professional[.]" OMG, a teacher is working 14 straight days in a row after taking 2 months off. As a business owner, I work 24/7/365. (I take leap day off sometimes.) I've done that for straight 24 years. Respect has to be earned. I respect members of the US Marine Corps, most of who make far less than teachers. When public school teachers stop whining and actually start doing the job they are being paid to do, then you'll get respect. Right now, you are highly compensated and do an extremely poor job of educating our children. If public school teachers worked in the private sector, many would be collecting unemployment checks because you would have been dismissed (fired) for not doing your job. That's the way I see it. Now get to work and do your job and stop your incessant whining.
Sully August 25, 2012 at 02:36 PM
What are you talking about Richard? You don't have a job and you know it. You can pat yourself on the back as much as you want (nobody else will), but Alice actually works . What do you do besides sitting in front of your computer all day, posting on a local website (which supposedly isn't even local for you anymore), and listening to Rush every afternoon? How productive are you compared to her? I'd say not very. Thank you Alice for what you do. Teaching is a thankless job that deserves much more respect than it gets. Good luck in D65.
Richard Schulte August 25, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Like a lost puppy, Sully follows me around on Patch. Are you paper-trained yet? "Teaching is a thankless job that deserves much more respect than it gets." Oh please, teaching in the public schools is a joke. Today, the job mainly consists of whining about hard teachers work and then taking a few (paid) days off. It would be nice if our children actually learned something.
Sully August 25, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Jealous Rich? These people have jobs. You don't.
Richard Schulte August 25, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Sully, you appear to have confused collecting a paycheck with a job. I believe that having a government job is called "Irish welfare".
Sully August 25, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Not confused at all, Rich. Teachers are productive and contributing members of our society. They also pay taxes. What do you contribute, Richie?

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