The future of 29,000 students are now in the hands of our teachers. Tuesday night the Rockford Public School District made some big decisions and they come just a day before the school year begins.
For the students Athletic Eligibility has changed. You still have to have a 2.0 GPA or better to play. Those that drop below that will have six weeks to get their act together. You can still play but you have to attend tutor sessions weekly. The 3 – 55 minute tutor sessions is what’s new about the policy. At the end of the 6 weeks if there is no improvement then there's no game.
The board also increased substitute teacher pay. That hasn't been done since 2000. Rockford school district subs across the board will get a 3.5% raise. Rockford is on the bottom of the list for many subs since they offer the least amount of money. So good subs are hard to lure and keep in Rockford schools.
Courtney Olson, a substitute teacher for 20 years says, "I'm certainly hoping they'll address the long term subs that have been with the district for 5 or more years. It would be easier for me to work at McDonalds and serve burgers than go to some of the schools that we all go into. Yes it's a step in the right direction."
The district also took a look back at the 2005-2006 year. A discipline report reveals that in 2006 257 students were expelled. That's up just a bit from 2005. It's kids involvement with drugs and weapons that stops the learning curve.
A warning from Rockford Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson. School starts Thursday, August 24th. That means 29,000 students will be getting off of buses or walking to and from school. Drivers are asked to pay attention and watch out for students.