Unit Five Inks New Teacher Deal

Published 08/28 2014 05:21PM

Updated 08/28 2014 06:00PM

NORMAL - McLean County’s largest school district is now boasting a balanced budget and new teacher's contract.

On Wednesday, Unit Five announced it has a new two-year deal, nearly six months in the making, for its teachers. It includes a new evaluation system.

The budget was balanced by not replacing 28 teachers who either retired or left the district as well as some office staff. There were also a few difficult cuts, but now the district can focus with greater certainty on the new year.

"We worked hard to create something where our teachers would be rewarded for their efforts and their work, and at the same time, something we can afford and stay within a balanced budget,” said Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel.

One of the more difficult decisions was to cut parts of the funding for Project Oz, a mentoring and tutoring program. Dr. Daniel says the board felt it was pivotal to keep teachers instead of programs. The program will now only be at Normal West High School, but they're still looking to keep its essence available.

“The spirit needs to be continued and we'll figure out perhaps how to do that with the input from our students, our teachers and our building-level principals,” said Daniel.

Cutting Project Oz's programming will save the district about $50,000. Students are working on a petition to try to restore the program. Daniel says a committee, including teachers, students and principals will be working on a solution.

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