PRINCETON — Concerns have been expressed to the Princeton High School Board of Education about this year’s PHS’s graduation date as well as the board’s decision to not rehire a certain teacher.
At Wednesday’s meeting, parent Julia Mead said she wanted to speak to the board about a disappointment which could potentially impact her family for the second time, specifically the conflict with having PHS graduation on the same day as the state track meet. Her older son graduated from PHS three years ago and was unable to attend his graduation because he was part of a relay team that made it to the state track meet. This year, her daughter Zoe is a senior and has a good possibility of also making to the state track meet this May 24, which is the PHS graduation date, she said.
Since the Illinois High School Association posts its schedule for the state track meets five years in advance, her recommendation would be to move the PHS graduation until the first Saturday in June, Mead said.
She understands there are others who do not see the need to switch the graduation date, Mead said. Many people have said, it’s only a couple children who might potentially be affected by this decision, of having to choose between attending high school graduation or participating in a state track meet, but any kind of decision like that sends a message, of having to decide which is more important, Mead said.
By moving the graduation date, students could attend their graduations and also participate in the state track meet, Mead said.
Also, there’s the thought that the set weekend (which is also typically Memorial Day weekend) is good for people who have to travel to get to the graduation, Mead said.
“But is it more important for people who travel to be at graduation or the students to be at graduation?” Mead asked. “I have two more children coming up, in two years and five years, and I would be crushed if I could never see any of my children go through their graduation ceremony.”
After the comments from Mead, board president John Young said setting a graduation date is something over which the board struggles each year. The board will take her concerns into consideration, he said.
Board member Al Taylor also expressed his appreciation to Mead for bringing her concerns to the board.
Also during the public comment portion of the meeting, PHS freshman Katelyn Matznick expressed her disappointment that the board is not rehiring social students teacher Michael Fauth. Kids go through a lot and Mr. Fauth is the kind of teacher to whom kids can talk. He’s not just a good teacher, he’s a good role model, the freshman said.
On Thursday, Principal Andy Berlinski said Fauth taught social studies and was part of the RIF (Reduction in Force) process at the March school board meeting due to low enrollment numbers in the social studies department. The decision was not based on any budget or performance issues, Berlinksi said.
“The simple fact is six years ago we had an enrollment above 670. This year we are at 495. In the last six years, we have not reduced any of our staff. Unfortunately, this year we could no longer support the position from a section standpoint,” Berlinski said.
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