DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - Community members and officials came together at Eisenhower High School for the first State of Decatur Public Schools breakfast Thursday.
This was an opportunity to learn more about the changes and plans for District 61 in the 2019-2020 school year. Superintendent Dr. Paul Fregeau touched on a number of issues and plans within education in Decatur, as well as the nation.
He explained education as a whole is seeing a teacher and bus driver shortage, limited funding, and lack academic performances, and DSP61 is no exception to these issues. Dr. Fregeau explained the district is in need of more bus drivers and guest teachers.
"That greatly impacts the kids," Dr. Fregeau said while explaining the bus driver shortage. "When you have a different face, different name, that relationship is so important. They are the first driver at the beginning of the day and the last adult at the end of the day."
Dr. Fregeau touched on a variety of topics from upgrades to a Fine Arts program for students to a mentoring program for first and second year teachers.
However, a big discussion within the breakfast, as well as the Decatur community is the consolidation of schools and the potential changes of boundaries.
"It's been since the late 90's and early 2000's since we looked at this [boundaries]. The emphasis behind this is we are combining schools. So, what a perfect time to look at what our boundaries might look like," he explained.
Plans for boundary changes are already in the works. A number plans are being developed. Dr. Fregeau explained no changes will be made until the board makes a final decision. He also emphasized the boundary changes will not affect county schools, only inner city schools.
"We've had some meetings, and we will have more meetings in September and October, and we encourage folks to come and provide their thoughts about what school boundaries should look like."
In addition to boundaries, DPS61 touched on the consolidation of schools, including the Stephan Decatur and Thomas Jefferson merger. Dr. Fregeau admitted the district did not meet the mark with having everything ready, but they have learned from the hiccups they ran into and will be prepared for the next merger plans.
"We learned some lessons, and we will be better moving forward," Dr. Freageau said.
Finally, Dr. Fregeau mentioned the possibility of one high school for DPS61. He emphasized that both buildings would be used, but reiterated that it was only an idea to have one high school.
"We are going to ask you guys what you think about the approach," Dr. Fregeau mentioned to the crowd about the plans.