Now that the 2013 school board elections are behind us, the re-elected or newly elected officials have real work to do. All districts across the state of Illinois are struggling to balance their budgets at the same time that new regulations are mandated by Springfield.
One such regulation at the high school level deals with a major change in how teachers are evaluated. No longer will department chairs have this responsibility; it will belong to administrators. And these evaluations will have a direct bearing on issues such as tenure and seniority. These issues are also undergoing massive changes.
These changing state regulations are causing school boards across the state to invest enormous sums of scarce school district funds into hiring more and more administrators. Schools are becoming top heavy as teachers are being cut and class sizes are soaring.
There is a simple solution to this problem. Why not hire, on a per diem basis, retired department chairs to do these new evaluations? They can work a week at one district and then move on to the next one. Districts can just pay them a set amount for the days that they work.
They are highly trained individuals who can be objective if they evaluate teachers in districts from which they did not retire. The same objectivity cannot be expected from administrators and teachers who may have known each other for years.
The savings for each district would be enormous. The extra money could be used to hire more teachers, charge students less for fees, have more sports programs and clubs that kids do not have to pay to join, etc. The possibilities are endless. All it takes is a wise school board to initiate the process.