Illinois Foreign Language Teacher Pleads to Keep Program

Why do teachers of foreign languages have to beg for their programs to be saved?! Outrageous! But here’s the story by Terry Dean from  Journal of Oak Park and River Forest, August 31, 2010:

Dawn Fogle Deaton, a Whittier Elementary School teacher and team leader in the FLES (Foreign Language in Elementary School) program, urged the District 97 school board not to cut her program in light of the district’s current financial struggles.

Deaton spoke at the Aug. 24 school board meeting and was noticeably upset.

The FLES program is among the proposed cuts the district will explore if a planned 2011 operating fund referendum fails next spring. The district in June proposed $2.6 million in cuts that likely wouldn’t take effect until the 2011-2012 school year. Other proposed reductions include staff cuts in administration and to media specialists.

The FLES program is also on the list, a savings of roughly $627,000 in total salary with the elimination of its nine teachers. The district has made no decisions, however, in cutting any programs.

Deaton maintained that there were no communications with her or other FLES teachers prior to a June 22 e-mail from the district announcing the reductions. She said she didn’t see that communication until days later and was alerted by her team about it. Administration contends that discussions took place over months with various departments before these proposed reductions were announced.

Deaton described her reaction as “livid, disillusioned and disheartened” after reading the e-mail.

Along with the cuts themselves, Deaton was equally disturbed by how and when that was communicated to staff.

Administration and board members have insisted that if anyone wants something pulled from the list to suggest an alternative reduction with a comparable level of savings.


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