Parents charge Cahokia School District doesn’t have its priorities right

CAHOKIA, IL – On Monday some parents in the Cahokia Unit School District said they are angry over what they believe are unnecessary hiring’s.

Parents and members of the Cahokia Federation of Teachers showed up before the board during its special meeting voicing their concerns about 7 positions filled, none of which hey said serve student needs.

"I am mad because we asked them all last year for help for our students," said union president, Leslie Harder, "in Illinois we have no school funding yet they created 7 jobs."

Harder said that help is needed especially in classrooms at the high school and elementary level that are over capacity.

"We were asking them for teachers last year and they say they had no money," Harder went on to say, "Everything we asked to support students or make the climate culture better or make academics better they didn't have any money and we are getting no more money right now."

Christina Powell who has a child at one of the district's high school said she felt as if the district wasn't listening to her concerns.

"I want them to come up with a better budget to cut all of these positions," Powell said, "it's not right for our district we can't afford it. We are already a failing district and we cannot afford to create 7 positions and just bring them on board. They were all handpicked."

Art Ryan, the district's Superintendent said that the board has reasons as to why it hired for those 7 positions including a night patrol.

"We've been having a lot of vandalism, broken windows broken doors," explained Ryan, "if that's happening at two or three schools every week we need to do something to avert that from happening.  When you take all of those damages and start adding it up, that position pays for itself."

Ryan said the district also filled 20 teacher vacancies over the summer.

He said school will still start August 14 but added that just like all other school districts if the state doesn't come up with school funding, schools may not be able to stay open for the rest of the school year.