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Grant-Illini teachers call on administration to address district’s financial irresponsibility

“We need new leadership that will prioritize fiscal accountability.”

Fairview Heights, ILDistrict 110 teachers and staff – members of the Grant-Illini Federation of Teachers (IFT, Local 6600) – have issued the following statement in response to the March 13 Belleville News-Democrat article exposing the district’s budgetary woes:

“We have been sounding this alarm about our district’s financial position for years now, and we hope that the article amplifies our concerns. Our students and community deserve transparency and accountability when it comes to how public education dollars are being spent, but we haven’t had that in years.

“We do know the dollars aren’t being spent on teacher and staff salaries. Compared to nearby districts, our starting teacher salaries are average. When you look at veteran teachers, we’re actually paid significantly lower than other districts, and our non-certified staff don’t even receive insurance benefits. The answers must lie elsewhere.

“Part of our role as educators is to advocate for our students. They deserve well-resourced classrooms and responsible school leadership. They deserve teachers who are respected and given a supportive teaching environment, not a district characterized by administrative bloat and inconsistent accounting. And their parents deserve clear answers – not excuses – from Superintendent Stines as to why we are at this point.

“Our union members have had enough, and to us, the solution is clear. We recently held a vote on the issue, and an overwhelming number of teachers and staff agree that Superintendent Stines must be removed from his position if we want to turn this district around. We need new leadership that will prioritize fiscal accountability. We need district funding to be used to increase resources for students and invest in teachers and staff, and doing that requires immediate change in management.

“We call on the Board of Education to address this situation, investigate why district finances are in the shape they are in, and work towards solutions that will improve our district by prioritizing what students need most. We invite parents and community members to come to the board meeting on March 26 at 6 PM and help us hold this district’s administration and Board of Education accountable.”

The Grant-Illini Federation of Teachers represents 76 teachers and non-certified staff in District #110. They are affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.

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