Teachers question priorities
by Peter K.
Many of the faculty are distressed at the closing of the LRC's; they see it as a loss of a place where they could help students on a one-to-one basis.
Some teachers feel that their talents are being wasted on supervision. Mr. Michael Deines, English teacher, said, "There are far more constructive ways to use educators than to have them monitoring hallways and lunchrooms."
Mr. Leo Skinner, English instructor, said, "There might be a misinterpretation of the situation. Instead of working in the LRC, teachers have supervisory duties, not an additional class."
According to figures cited in a district meeting, $225,000 was lost by District 207 because of declining enrollment. However, the district saved more money by reduction in staff and teacher turnover. (Turnover is when less experienced teachers replace more experienced teachers, thereby reducing salaries.)
Mr. Robert Simonson, Assistant Principal, noted that the money saved is not in the form of usable cash. This saving has been used to finance school costs.
Supervision is needed to protect the school property since last year $17,000 worth of vandalism was done to Maine South.
Mr. Skinner concluded, "The main issue seems to be whether it is worth the expense to hire paraprofessionals so that teachers could be assigned to the LRC's."
Priorities may have been misplaced. Mr. Thomas Kerth, English instructor stated, "I think that there is a lot of emphasis put on supervision. The LRC's are an academic area that needs to be placed high on the list of priorities."
An estimated calculation made by a group letter sent to the Park Ridge advocate stated at $500,000 is spent annually to put teachers in supervisory duties other than teaching for Maine South.
Another point brought up was that Maine South is the only one of the four Maine schools to ever have an LRC for students and teachers to confer about their subjects.
The issue here is whether supervision and economics prevail over education and assistance. This choice is quite involved and there is no easy solution.