DPS votes to approve layoffs of teaching assistants

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DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – A unanimous vote means several dozen teaching assistants will lose their jobs.

The board for Decatur Public Schools decided to cut 24 workers, including six pre-kindergarten assistants and four hardship assistants, in order to create a new position. The new role will bring several student support facilitators to the district.

The Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants, led by Paula Busboom, argued students who need help from assistants involved in in-school suspension and alternative placement programs will not get the help they need. The group says some of those students deal with trauma and issues at home and need guidance.

Superintendent Dr. Paul Fregeau previously argued the new position will actually reach more students, because that person works with K-12 grade levels.

A previous meeting ended with new requirements for becoming a teaching assistant. They now need a bachelor’s degree to take one of those roles.

DPS leaders say they’re still working on a concrete plan to help students who need alternative placement help.

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