PEORIA, IL -- Peoria School District 150 will spend $50 million over the next five years to repair and renovate all 27 schools, with 134 projects being planned, the School Board heard at its January 9 meeting. The board plans to vote on the draft report at the Jan. 23 meeting.
But during the public comment period activist Terry Knapp noted there was no mention of Peoria Stadium in the report. "Taxpayers will be irate if the stadium is not part of the deal," he said.
He also questioned a final financial settlement with a special education teacher fired during the Lathan administration. Ten special education teachers were fired, and "treated like pigs," Knapp said.
This is the last settlement, but how much did the litigation cost? he asked. "Lathan created this mess," and there is a shortage of special education teachers, he said.
Knapp also said that those who offer comments should be treated with respect, and not criticized.
Finally he called out "influence peddling," that led to the closure of Woodruff High School so the Quest charter school could open. Now "it's unsuccessful," he said.
"We gave it to the leaders in this community because they wanted it," he said of Quest.
Here is a recording of the comments:
Linda Wilson, a second grade teacher at Trewyn School asked the board to reinstate a "grow your own" teacher program. It has lapsed for want of funding.
She noted that African-American students make up more than half of the students in the schools, but see few teachers that look like them.
Community meetings to discuss improving Peoria, in light of a finding that the city is the worst place for African Americans to live in the U.S., have focused on education, she said. A grow-your-own teacher program would offer opportunities to talented students, she said. She is a product of the previous program.
-- Elaine Hopkins