Schedule, Graduation Changes Possible in Peoria Public Schools

School board discussed both issues Monday night.

PEORIA - Discussion of bell schedules and graduation requirements helped lead to a three-hour Peoria Public School Board meeting Monday night.

Dozens of parents spoke out against the proposed three-tier bell schedule, which would mean a later start time for high school students. The district says it would save over $1 million since 26 buses would be taken off the road, and routes would be consolidated.

“We are single parents that need to have our older kids help us get our babies out of school. Y’all gotta think about them, my baby will cross Sheridan all by himself,” said one of dozens of concerned parent.

School board members listened to those concerns, reflected in over 2,000 surveys returned by parents. One member says he wants the board to consider the impact on students, but other board members said cuts have to be made somewhere to get the district out of its deficit of close to $1 million dollars.

The board will make a decision on the schedule sometime in May.

Leaders also talked Monday about changing graduation requirements for students in the high schools.

The district saw a decline in graduation over the last six years, going from 90% in 2010 to under 70% in 2016.

One recommendation is cutting the number of credits needed for graduation from 26 to 24, allowing students more time for a study hall period or a chance to take AP classes, which could help with college readiness. The district would also remove class rank, and replace it with titles of Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude.

Leaders say district 150 currently requires too many credits to graduate, saying Dunlap, Morton and Metamora have fewer requirements. The district also says the graduation rate seemed to drop the most in 2011 when it went from 22 credits up to 26.

The board will re-visit this discussion on April 3. 

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