He's only been on the job for a couple months, but already Dr. Dennis Thompson has given new life to a school district in the midst of some very difficult times. On Tuesday, the Rockford Board of Education unanimously threw its support to Dr. Thompson's district restructuring plan.
While acknowledging some tough cuts were still necessary, Dr. Thompson was able to save some key programs and staff.
To free up some additional money, two teaching positions at Washington Elementary and one at Barbour are being trimmed. Early retirement of nearly 250 teachers will also account for hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings.
On the plus side, dozens of positions are being restored including a human resources director, fine arts coordinator, curriculum support staff in four core areas of study, as well as in school suspension teachers and a part time textbook coordinator.
Four fourth and fifth grade teachers are being restored to reduce class sizes in four elementary schools, and four high school teachers will be brought back to teach repeat classes, and as expected 37 library aides are among dozens of paraprofessionals scheduled to return.
While Thompson's proposal doesn't fix all the district's problems, board members credit the superintendent for being proactive.
Dr. Thompson reiterated that his proposal is not a long-term solution, and stressed that in order for the district to remain afloat, it's going to take a lot of work from everyone in the district.