A unanimous yes vote at the Peoria Public Schools meeting Monday gave the green light to a teacher recruitment strategy meant to address a shortage of educators.
The district will now offer a $1,500 signing bonus to incoming teachers. Peoria Public Schools approved $50,000 total to fund the bonuses. The district is also offering a $150 bonus if the person you refer accepts a job and stays for a full year.
But Peoria Federation of Teachers Union president Jeff Adkins-Dutro said the move is merely a band-aid for the problem.
"Extremely high stress levels, you know you're dealing with in some instances crowded classrooms, discipline is not under control. The workload for teachers right now is just stunning," said Adkins-Dutro.
Another shake up for the district involves the ELITE program. After three years of being at Harrison Primary School, ELITE is moving to Manual Academy's 7th and 8th grade in the fall. The program will remain at Lincoln Middle School.
"They all deal with factors, poverty, geography, dysfunction. So, we address those issues and establish relationships with the kids and then those relationships were able to move them off a negative into a positive," said Carl Cannon, the ELITE Director.
The Elite program costs a total of $244,000, but the district only pays $22,000. The rest is funded by Title 1.
As for why ELITE is leaving Harrison, Cannon said it's actually a good sign. He said feels the kids there are on the right track, so they're going to focus on reaching new students.