DECATUR — The Decatur Board of Education approved the nonrenewal of contracts and "honorable dismissals" of 41 teachers within District 61 and the Macon-Piatt Special Education District on Tuesday night.
The board voted 6-0 to approve the actions during its regular meeting. School board member Courtney Carson was absent and did not participate in the vote. The contracts of 10 first-year teachers and one second-year special education teacher were not renewed. The vote also approved the honorable dismissal of 17 retired certified teachers, 12 special education teachers and one other teacher.
Superintendent Paul Fregeau on Tuesday night could not immediately provide a list of the schools where the 10 first-year teachers taught.
The district is not facing budget cuts this year, so the nonrenewals are not layoffs, according to Decatur Education Association president Suzanne Kreps. "It's a part of the process," she said. "Some of the teachers on this list have skills that are proficient, but are released for a variety of reasons, like if they aren't a good fit at their school."
Retired teachers often return to help fill vacancies, said Kathleen Horath, executive director of Macon-Piatt Special Education District, and can work a maximum of 100 days, after which they are honorably dismissed.
Some of teachers whose contracts were not renewed will be hired back, Kreps said, but she said the district does not immediately notify her group of who they are or when that will be. Despite the unfortunate circumstances of the nonrenewals, she said she is encouraged by the fact that none of the district's teacher workforce of about 650 was affected by reductions in force.
"That is a good thing," Kreps said.
In other business, the district voted 6-0 to approve a intergovernmental land agreement between the school district and the Decatur Park District. The agreement allows the park district to continue using land at Stephen Decatur Middle School for certain recreational programs, such as soccer.
Josh Peters, director of curriculum and instruction for the district, also gave a statistical update regarding the results of MAP Growth testing for the winter 2018 period.
While students are making gains in mean averages for language, mathematics and reading, Peters said his department is going to consider reviewing how effective the district's current assessments are, and if there are less strenuous ways to track the development of area students throughout the year.