The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Niles West Theatre Department Premieres “I Am”
View All

School Board Dismisses Teachers, Passes Restructuring Plan

School Board Meeting-- photo by Rozy Kanjee

At the Board meeting Monday, Feb. 7, the Niles Township School Board unanimously passed the restructuring plan for a second time, despite efforts made by students, teachers, and parents. These suggestions for restructuring, if followed through with, will affect physical welfare classes and many courses in the applied sciences and technology department.

In a 5-0 vote, the Board also approved the dismissal (as the result of discontinued courses) of Nicole Reynolds–in the physical welfare department at West; Heather Fitzgerald, Ariel Hurwitz-Green, Yoon Lee, Samuel Smith, and Terri Vanderjeugdt–in the physical welfare department at North; Andrea Davis, Brenda Houston, and Louis Metallo–in the department of applied science and technology at West; and Angela Hankes–in the department of applied science and technology at North. It is state law that if a tenured teacher has certification in another department, then they are guaranteed a position in that particular department. All of these teachers have tenure.

In addition to the tenured teachers, the board also approved the dismissal of two nontenured teachers: fourth-year teacher Michael Swiatkiewicz, an applied science and technology teacher at North; and Glenn Olson, a second-year physical welfare teacher at West.

The restructuring plan incorporates Health into the sophomore physical welfare classes and reduces the number of junior/senior electives offered for physical welfare. In addition, it eliminates Child Development from birth to 3 years, Business Marketing, Business Management, and Advanced Web Design.

According to school board president Bob Silverman, the main goal is to increase the the percent of students who go to college. To obtain that, the board wants an increased emphasis on Math and English in addition to saving $1 million dollars a year by eliminating other programs.

District 219 is currently the second highest school in the state for Operating Expense Per Pupil (OEPP). OEPP is the amount of money the district spends in total per student. This includes everything from instructional expenses to administration expenses and also depends on the average daily attendance. The Board wishes to keep the OEPP percent increase of 1.94% (as of 2009) flat.

According to the Niles Township Federation of Teachers, the district’s OEPP statistic is misleading because it reflects budget-to-budget data. NTFT is concerned with the Board’s focus on this number, said social studies teacher and NTFT executive vice president Joe Edwards.

“All north suburban schools have higher OEPPs and it reflects that we spend more on students even though the relative tax burden [in district 219] is relatively low,” he said.  “Also, there are things reflected in OEPP for which [the district] get[s] reimbursed [such as] title I [funds], some special ed services, etc. ”

Students, teachers, and parents defended the courses and teachers involved with the courses. Pankaj Sharma (president of the NTFT and a social studies teacher at North), Tim Miller (a math teacher at West and NTFT retirement chair), and Steve Grossman (a social studies teacher at West as well as the former president of NTFT) addressed the school board to take value into consideration. They said the administration and board were looking at the changes as a numerical figure and not seeing the values of the classes and teachers. Parents and students also asked that the Board look at quality over the percentage. Senior Isaac Park from Niles North said it was important to not only look at seniority of the teachers but the quality of their teaching.

The NTFT stated to the Board that District 219, OEPP aside, has the highest amount of total fund balance ($110,274,098) compared to other high schools in the area based on actual Fiscal Year data reported to the Illinois School Board of Education.

View Comments (18)
More to Discover

Comments (18)

All Niles West News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • E

    Eric KrikorianFeb 17, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Hey, maybe we shouldn’t plan on spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on putting a dome over our overly done tennis courts, and spend some of that money on teachers who are trying to make a living.
    Right now, with these crappy economic times, we should stop worrying about state of the art athletic facilities, and we should start worrying putting an “emphasis on Math and English”, and keeping our teachers!
    Great Job Niles West….

    Reply
    • Z

      Zach RothsteinFeb 18, 2011 at 3:31 PM

      Eric the point youre making is completely irrelivent. The funds used to build our “state of the art” athletic facilities are a completely different funds then what are being cut from the teachers. Our opinions don’t matter, the board is going to do whatever they want regardless of what we say.

      Reply
    • K

      Kinda UpsetFeb 18, 2011 at 4:17 PM

      You’re completely right. Sports are an EXTRA-curricular activity. They are important, don’t get me wrong, but if the school wants to increase the welfare of the school, they should keep actual teachers around. They don’t need a tennis dome or a three million dollar gymnastics gym [they don’t need to make it as advanced as they are]. It is complete hypocrisy and they totally contradict themselves.

      Reply
      • Z

        Zach RothsteinFeb 18, 2011 at 8:35 PM

        You don’t understand the point that I am making. The school can build whatever they want as long as it comes out of the “building fund.” The money that the school is saving by cutting teachers has nothing to do with the money that is involved with the fund that is used to build/improve our school. That is the point of having separate funds for things like building a beautiful new gymnastics gym or a really cool tennis court. These funds allow for improving our athletics/school without having to dip into funds that actually have an impact upon our education. Where the problem is that the board seems to think that AFTER doing an amazing job saving money for our school (I mean lets face it, 100mil in the bank, that’s impressive) they still feel the need to save more money to protect our school for the future. From what I’ve heard the only way they see they can save this “needed” one million dollars a year is by cutting teachers. I say the focus needs not to be on the fact they are cutting teachers, but on who they cut and what they cut.

        Reply
  • F

    FluffyNinjaFeb 16, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    Hey guys, I just heard that the school is going to charge for ketchup soon. Now that sounds crazy but im hearing from all of my friends and that actually is something our school would do. Care to comment?

    Reply
    • C

      Colene GibsonFeb 17, 2011 at 10:07 AM

      We heard about that too! Don’t worry, the NWN is looking into it!

      Reply
    • C

      confusedFeb 18, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      wait .. really ?! charging for ketchup?! that is absurd !
      niles west is suddenly becoming so ridiculous in every way, shape, and form!!

      Reply
      • C

        Cheyenne FarrellFeb 18, 2011 at 4:13 PM

        The NWN looked into the ketchup rumor and it is false.

        Reply
  • M

    Maggie WibrightFeb 16, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    Dear Procrastinator,
    The NilesWestNews appreciates your interest in our website. Since you have such a positive opinion on it, we encourage you to talk to Ms. Lauer about possibly writing for the NWN? We read your blog and we could always use good writers. Come Join!

    Reply
  • T

    TheProcrastinatorFeb 14, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    http://opinionsnw.tumblr.com/
    I’ve written a post on this subject.

    I think that the budget cuts are unreasonable…

    Could someone please do some interviews? I’m curious as to a direct explanation from someone involved…

    Reply
    • P

      Patrick O'ConnorFeb 15, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      Ill get right on that for you, The Procrastinator

      Reply
  • F

    FlipFeb 13, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    are we serious??? way to mismanage money and fire teachers when we overpay like 50% of the teachers

    Reply
  • M

    MarianaFeb 13, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    The board president has no idea how much of a mistake he’s making by executing this plan or whatever. Honestly, why are they trying to shove college down our throats? It’s ridiculous! If I don’t want to go to college I won’t, and none of them will make me! They’re cutting classes students like and giving us lame reasons to why they’re cutting them! I personally think that the wide variety of electives at NW helps a lot of students figure out what they want to do in life. It’s pathetic that the reason for doing this plan is “College” when all of those electives are offered at many colleges nation wide! I think the school board should put themselves on check, since so many of us students are starting to hate NW, I know teachers who say that this school is going down hill, they’re trying to cut back on money, but they don’t do it on areas where they could, like those damn laptops they give freshman. Apparently those broken down laptops “help” students, when we have an IRC filled with computers, and most classrooms have at least one computer.

    Reply
  • E

    EmilyFeb 12, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    The reason most students are able to tolerate a long day of school- filled with classes they may not particularly enjoy- is because they take electives and ‘fun’ classes that help them get through the day. By taking these classes away- the student body won’t be able to prosper, but will lag further beind due their lack of enthusiasm. Niles West has a rich diversity- in students and classes, and is what it is because of that diversity.
    Concerned Reader is right, the board needs to look into the actual schools, rather than the figures. Some of these classes that will be cut are actually leading students into careers which are newly developing in today’s economy. [web design, child developement, ect.] This exposure is something that shouldn’t be lost due to the board’s oblivious-ness.
    Letting these well respected, dedicated teachers, along with their classes, go is a shame and a mistake- a very big mistake.

    Good job Rozy!

    Reply
  • J

    JFeb 11, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    NO! NOT MS. REYNOLDS!

    Reply
  • C

    Concerned ReaderFeb 11, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    By increasing the level of classes, how does that ensure the increase of a student’s knowledge. Gatta says, ““When we move students up, we’ve literally altered their destiny.” What if I’m a student who struggles in low and normal classes, how will I be benefited by taking higher classes? Taking higher classes will not “alter my destiny.” Most likely I would end up receiving a worse grade in a higher class, since the material is harder and most teachers who teach a higher level class “don’t teach/barely teach,” since they think its a honors/AP class, they don’t have to teach as much, which is also another problem this school has. Also, it wouldn’t help a students GPA if they are failing or doing poorly in higher classes. The worst part of it is that students who did not do very well in core academics relied on the extra elective classes like technology and applied science. If they get rid of that, then the students will be double screwed and it would look even worse on their transcripts.

    Reply
  • S

    Sabrina KanjeeFeb 9, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    I am shocked to hear that many teachers were let go because of the sole purpose of keeping a budget. I am a Niles North alumni and I loved my dance class, it is disappointing to hear that electives such as those will no longer be available for the students. This is an extremely interesting and well-written article, well done Rozy.

    Reply
  • S

    SoniaFeb 9, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    This article is extremely well-written and effectively highlights current issues impacting not only students in the Niles Township district, but also state wide. School boards need to realize that their primary concern should be providing a high caliber of education to their students, which is successful by offering students a diverse set of electives. However, it seems to me that school boards are starting to forget their fundamental responsibilities to students, and making money and budgets their primary concern. Increasing efforts on Math and English classes will not miraculously increase the percent of students that go on to college. On the contrary, by offering a wide array of electives, schools will allow students to experience a variety of classes with different backgrounds. These electives are representative of different majors students can pursue IN college. Firing exceptional teachers and cutting down elective curriculum could prevent students from exploring different fields/areas of study that could encourage students to pursue higher education. Cutting out these extra experiences will further deter potential students from continuing on to higher education.

    Reply