A metro-east school district is trying to determine if one of its teachers helped students cheat on state achievement tests last year. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Highland Community Unit School District 5 has launched an internal investigation this week.
Superintendent Michael Sutton tells the paper they're investigating allegations from some students that point toward "testing irregularity" during administration of the Illinois Standard Achievement Test last school year (2012-13). The teacher under investigation isn't being identified.
The district's findings will be submitted to the state Board of Education which will make a final determination.
But the budget proposed by Governor Pat Quinn would cut education spending by more than $300 million.
Many Illinois school districts are already operating on deficits after the state failed to fully fund its obligations for the past two years. Virtually every metro-east district is laying off teachers in anticipation of less state funding next year. Some are cutting sports programs and closing schools.
St. Clair County schools superintendent Susan Sarfaty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that "Districts are no longer cutting fat from their budgets — they’re cutting bone." Sarfaty says "there's no more fat to cut."
District 118 will lay off six teachers and 20 staff members. The state of Illinois owes the district nearly two-million dollars.
In Highland, several teachers are being let go, but the specifics haven't been released.
Earlier this week, officials with Belleville District 201 and the Collinsville School District announced layoffs.