PEORIA – Tonight, the Dunlap Education Association (DEA) will call for the Dunlap Community Unit School District 323 Board of Education (BOE) to responsibly spend taxpayer dollars instead of cutting millions from the budget, which could mean cutting 60 teachers from the district.
“The district has the money to close the $5 million deficit without making cuts and without raising taxes,” DEA Co-president Melissa Harrison said. “The district has enough in its reserves to keep the schools running for more than a year without any new money. Schools aren’t banks. Taxpayer dollars should be used to support students and support the programs that make Dunlap a powerhouse district.”
This weekend, several DEA members put on masks, practiced social distancing and canvassed the neighborhoods in the Dunlap school district. Teachers handed out fliers to community members to help educate them on the district’s finances.
The board discussed the possible budget cuts during its last meeting on Oct. 21.
“If $5 million dollars is cut from the budget, that could mean cutting nearly 60 teaching positions,” Harrison said. “Losing all those teachers would mean even bigger class sizes and program cuts across the board. Our students deserve better. The money is there. We can prevent this.”
The DEA represents about 290 teachers, psychologists, counselors and speech pathologists in District 323, providing an education to the more than 4500 students.
Tonight’s virtual board meeting begins at 6 p.m. Those wishing to attend can join through this link. Several teachers and community members plan to virtually pack the meeting. Harrison will be making a statement on behalf of DEA.
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.