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Rantoul Schools August 10, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Schools.
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Read this article to get the latest on the stalled contract talks at the high school.

“The bargaining hasn’t gone anywhere,” said Gene Vanderport, area representative of the Illinois Education Association. “There’s a considerable distance.”

Also, if you remember back several years ago, the high school had so many money issues that they proposed the elimination of the sports programs at the high school. This ultimately failed, but was a huge wakeup call to everyone in the area. Since then they’ve remodeled the High School and things seem to be going okay, except for the contract issues, extremely high teacher turnover rate, etc.

What is wrong with this picture?

Moving on to the Rantoul Grade Schools…

If you remember back to February of this year, the school board approved a deal which would create 4 grade-level learning centers. Here’s that article. This deal was met with quite a bit of opposition in the community.

The 20-page plan has many facets, but the most controversial is the reassignment of students to schools. The plan will send students currently at Broadmeadow and Pleasant Acres schools to Pleasant Acres for kindergarten through second grand and to Broadmeadow for third through fifth grade.

The plan sends students currently attending Northview and Eastlawn schools to Eastlawn for kindergarten through second grade and Northview for third through fifth grade.

The plan calls for redrawing boundaries to balance class size; implementation of the plan is expected to cost $237,000.

Here’s an updated article on the school transition.
I like the fact that they are trying to make improvements, but if you look at the list of new purchases you’ll see the following:

40 resource books…the improvement plan, which will cost more than $200,000, also includes money to hire coaches, one for reading and one for math, to work with children who will take the Illinois Standards Achievement Tests in the grades 3-5 schools.

And the district will hire two fluent Spanish speakers, one for the lower grades and one for the upper grades, to help Hispanic children make the transition to regular classrooms.

I keep thinking to myself, why did you need to shuffle the kids around? If you were going to spend all this money on extra help for the kids, wouldn’t that be enough? Basically, the board is doing this in order to pass all the state achievement tests at the grades 3-5 level. They need to shuffle the kids in order to balance the test scores out amongst all the students.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Rantoul School system, Broadmeadow and Northview are the good grade schools and Pleasant Acres and Eastlawn are the bad. Basically, the difference being that Broadmeadow and Northview are in the wealthier parts of town and Pleasant Acres and Eastlawn are in the not-so-wealthy parts of Rantoul.

Hence, you get a large group of kids with less opportunities going to the same school and not passing state achievement tests. Meanwhile, the better off kids across town are having no problems. I guess I’m not understanding the need to combine schools. I mean why not just give the kids at Eastlawn and Pleasant Acres the extra help they need?

What exactly IS going on with the Rantoul School system? Bad management? Not enough funding? Or something else entirely?

Any which way, it’s been a problem for quite some time, and it’s one that needs answering.