Peoria Schools Scrap Four-Day Idea, But Teachers Still Get Raises Despite Cuts

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Thursday, April 9, 2015 - 7:16pm
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2015 - 7:20pm

Peoria students will still have school five days a week. After eight weeks of debate, the Peoria Unified School District governing board decided Thursday to cut the $1.7 million in other ways.

The board voted unanimously to cut administrative and IT jobs, outsource custodial services, save money on electricity and charge rent for use of vacant district buildings.

All together those actions are expected to save the district $2.8 million next year.

“This option is not sustainable, other than getting us through next year," said Superintendent Denton Santarelli.

Governing board members agreed the cuts are tough, but less disruptive than moving to a four day week. The changes will go into effect next year.

Even with these cuts, many teachers will be able to get modest salary increases. Teacher Barbara Bush Barcus says this plan is the most equitable that was allowed in this budget.

"There were years where we had so much inversion for some teachers. Teachers that have been in the district ten years that were making less than the teachers that we just hired this past year," she said.

Most of the salary adjustments are meant to balance income with length of time in the district. The current salary freeze and low pay has affected Peoria’s ability to hire teachers. The district currently has 130 teaching positions open.

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