Many retiring from Central Illinois school districts, leaders say it’s an expected change

Local News

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Dozens of central Illinois teachers are dismissing class for the summer and calling it a career.

“There is a pretty decent size number of teachers retiring this year,” said Mark Jontry, the regional superintendent for District 17 covering McLean, DeWitt, Livingston, and Logan counties.

Jointry said there are about 150 positions open in his region, but he said the staffing shortage isn’t new.

“It’s going to continue to be a problem. We will have courses that will go unfilled, some of those courses will be canceled, some of them will be staffed by substitute teachers,” said Jontry.

Some schools in his district are exploring distance and blended learning for the fall. The options would allow a teacher to cover classrooms in more than one district. It also allows schools to continue offering classes, rather than cutting them.

More than 40 staff members at McLean County Unit 5 Schools retired since July 1, 202. A district spokesperson said it’s not an abnormal amount and said some of those positions have already been filled.

Bloomington District 87 had 25 retirees this year. Superintendent Dr. Barry Reilly said it’s slightly higher than previous years, with some staff moving up their retirements due to the pandemic.

In Peoria Public Schools, leaders said a 10 percent turnover is typical.

“For the most part, it’s in sync with the past in terms of the trend,” said Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat.

Dr. Kherat said for the first time in a while, the district is in a good spot.

“We’re very excited about staffing for the upcoming school year. We have been intentional for about two years, so we’ve implemented some new strategies,” said Dr. Kherat.

The district is turning to international exchange programs and hiring on student teachers.

“For the most part, the majority have been filled and so we’re down to less than 10,” said Dr. Kherat.

She also said staffing is tricky, and expects some retirements or resignations before the fall.

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