DECATUR – Leaders of the Decatur Education Association (DEA) said Monday they do not want the Decatur School Board to extend the contract of Assistant Superintendent Jeff Dase for five years, based on the parameters of the board’s own contract with him, and said they would give Dase a failing grade for his performance, to date.
Dase, who was hired in April 2019 and who took over the position when Bobbi Williams retired from the position in June, has not been with the district for a full year. He came to Decatur from Chicago Public Schools where he had been the high schools’ network operations manager.
His contract with DPS is a performance-based contract that states he must meet the “student performance and academic improvement goals” in his previous contract as well as “establish a collaborative culture district-wide that improves the climate of learning in all schools. DEA believes that Dase has failed to provide evidence of success in any of the board-established performance goals in the first six months of his contract.
“Mr. Dase has not even been on staff for a full year. We have not seen data to be confident Mr. Dase has met his goals, which align to the Decatur Public Schools strategic plan,” said Chrissy Petitt, DEA president. “DEA prides itself on having a collaborative relationship with the school district. The relationship has been established and valued for years between DPS and the DEA. Since Mr. Dase arrived, the collaborative relationship has been replaced with one of distrust, rancor and, frankly, a downturn in student performance from scores in the fall to scores in the winter. The DEA Board of Directors and Association Representatives feel Mr. Dase is failing to create a culture where students and staff want to learn, teach and work. At this time, we hesitate to support his contract being extended for five years.”
On Monday, approximately 55 DEA leaders met to discuss Mr. Dase’s job performance. Leaders also met to develop a statement to Decatur School Board members and administration in regard to whether Mr. Dase can perform his job effectively. They determined, unanimously, there is not enough data for the board to make that determination and that the data available is not favorable to a contract extension.
“At the start of the school year, Mr. Dase told the Herald & Review he wanted to ‘ensure our teachers are well-informed and trained about teaching and learning strategies that will prepare our students for the next grade level and/or content area that will ensure their success in life,’” Petitt said.
“Currently, this is the exact opposite of what his tenure is proving to be. We need an administrator who builds our district rather than tears down the foundation, and the evidence currently indicates that Mr. Dase is not prepared for that important task. The board must ensure that they have someone in this very important position in our district who will work to better our schools for staff, and most importantly, for students. Morale is down. Collaboration is hanging on by a thread. It is currently a failing performance which deserves a failing grade.”
The DEA is made up of about 650 members who are teachers, school psychologists, speech and language pathologists, social workers, and counselors.
The school board is expected to meet Tues., Jan. 28 starting at 4 p.m. at the Keil Building. They will go into executive session with open session starting at 6:30 p.m.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.