BYRON (WIFR) – Parents in the Byron School District, tired of vague responses from leaders aren’t waiting for answers anymore.
Now, two parents are taking a hands-on approach to get to the bottom of a budget issue that could mean big problems for their families.
Mary McKnight and Michelle Albert are parents of special needs students in Byron. They’re part of a group of dozens of parents who are demanding clear and detailed answers from a district they say isn’t giving them the info they’re looking for about their children’s futures.
Mary and Michelle have been working hard, digging for information on whether District 226 is cutting it’s special education program and rejoining the ogle county education co-op after the district says it’s going into a deficit spending mode and is looking at all options to save money. The women say cutting the special-ed program would hurt their kids and they’re not going to slow down until they find out why cuts are even an option.
"We don't feel the school has been transparent and provided that information, so we're doing research ourselves. We're putting in for FOIA'd information for the state board of ed., from the OCEC, from the Byron school system and really trying to build that case and understand it better,” said Albert.
We reached out to the district superintendent Dr. James Hammack who referenced us to a newsletter on the district’s website for answers to my questions. That document says the reasons for any cuts would be because of a reduction in student enrollment and decreased tax revenue because of a drop in property values.
The next school board meeting is next Tuesday and parents say they’ll be out in full force with their children standing up for the special-ed program.