SEA & Cost-Saving Partnership with Memorial Health Care

image.jpgDear SEA Members,

At this week’s March 6th school board meeting, Superintendent Gill introduced a new partnership agreement between District 186 and Memorial Health Care Systems. The purpose of this partnership is to reduce SEA members’ out-of-pocket costs, improve and expand health services, and help keep premiums down.

The 186 Board of Education is expected to vote on this new partnership at the April 9th board meeting.

SEA Members:

  • will maintain their current insurance program and all associated benefits through Blue Cross Blue Shield.
  • are still free to see physicians outside of the Memorial Services.
  • must carry district insurance to access these benefits.

SEA members will receive a presentation of this new partnership with MHCS at our May 8th AR meeting. All members are welcome to attend.

Program summary:

  • Zero co-pay at all five Memorial Health Care Clinics. (Current co-pay is $25)
  • Free Virtual Care with SmartVisit 24/7. (Currently costs $40)
  • Nurse concierge service to assist with scheduling of appointments and making referrals. (Currently not available)
  • Free care coordination to align services and support members with more complex needs. (Currently not available)
  • 5 free health and wellness events per year.

Yours in Education,

Crysta Weitekamp
SEA President

Springfield Area Students Plan Actions To Address Gun Violence (, 3/6/18)

Student activists from Parkland, Florida, have toured the country speaking out about gun violence after a gunman killed 17 people at their school in February. They recently made a stop in Chicago and their cause has inspired students all over the country, including in the Springfield area.

About 20 students from a variety of local schools gathered at a table in the community room of a grocery store Monday evening. They discussed plans for a walk out and rally. A few adults representing activist groups that have organized events, including the women’s marches in Springfield, were on hand to help work out logistics, such as city permits.

Claire Farnsworth, an 18-year-old senior from Chatham, led the meeting. She got her introduction to activism after starting a petition about her school’s dress code last year. She found its limit on attire for females sexist. She went on to form a feminist club, and now, she’s also focused on addressing gun violence.

“Going anywhere honestly is a scary thing right now. For as long as I can remember, especially in high school, people have made school shooter jokes, which is kind of inappropriate, but that’s just the culture in which we live. The fact that you can joke about that because that’s so normal, it’s appalling and just distasteful. It’s just how we live. It’s just our culture.”

Farnsworth said she wants to get kids from all local schools at the table.

“There’s a lot of differences, not only culturally but demographically, and we want to make sure that everyone’s voices are being heard,” she said. “If not everyone’s involved, there’s no point in it.”

The ACLU’s Illinois chapter recently encouraged schools to respect free speech rights. Across the nation a student walk-out is planned for March 14, with rallies and marches to happen on March 24th.

ACLU lawyer Rebecca Glenberg said schools should take advantage of letting students acquire hands-on experience when it comes to civic engagement, and teachers shouldn’t shy away from discussion about the realities of current events. “Protection of minority viewpoints and listening to other viewpoints with an open mind are really important skills for a school to teach its students,” said Glenberg.

A statement from Springfield’s District 186 indicates it will respect students’ rights to organize, and won’t punish students for participating, as long as they come to an agreed-upon set of guidelines with the administration. The district emphasized the events don’t reflect its endorsement of any specific cause.

“Our goal is to allow peaceful and safe participation and minimize disruption of the school day,” the statement reads. “It is our responsibility during these times to keep students safe and be thoughtful and objective listeners.”

The students at the meeting at the grocery store believe gun violence can be stemmed by adding regulations, but they’re aware they don’t represent all kids.

For Aria Bender, activism runs in the family – her mom helps lead a local Black Lives Matter group. Her school, Springfield High, has gone through numerous bomb threats in the past year or so. Bender said she wants to see more conversation and action around bullying because maybe that would mean fewer young people would ever lash out in violent ways in the first place. And she wants adults to take her and her peers seriously.

“I don’t want people to get the wrong idea – I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh they’re doing this to get out of class.’ I want them to see we’re doing this with a purpose, but I don’t want adults to use this as a way to punish us,” said Bender.

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2018 District 186 Staffing Timelines



Jan 25-Feb 26: Building Allocations

  1. Staffing allocations will go out to principals on January 25th.
  2. Staffing will be returned to HR by February 26.
  3. Staffing cuts result in displacements.
  4. Volunteers are considered first. If there are no volunteers, then displacements are made by seniority.

Mar 16-Apr 6: Displaced Process

  1. Displaced teachers are placed on a list in order of seniority.
  2. A master list of known vacancies will be shared with each displaced teacher.
  3. Displaced teachers shall contact principals of the buildings that have vacancies, either in person or by a phone call to learn about the position and to schedule a visit.
  4. Displaced teachers will select their top three choices of positions from the master vacancy list based on seniority and certification requirements.
  5. The SEA office will receive displaced choices and assign displaced teachers into positions based on seniority and certification.

“The Pool”

  • A displaced teacher may select to stay in the pool to select a vacant position.
  • After the last day of school, any teacher who remains in the “pool” will be placed in a position by the Director of Human Resources.

The RIF (Reduction in Force) Process

  • Done by district seniority.
  • RIF groupings – teachers with two or more ‘Needs to Improve’ evaluations will be RIF’d regardless of seniority.
  • Notified by registered mail 45 calendar days prior to the end of the school year.
  • Recall based on openings and seniority.

Apr 9-May 11: Voluntary Transfer

  • Positions available for voluntary transfer will be listed on the District Intranet for 4 days starting on April 11th and running through May 8th. This is updated daily.
  • Teachers interested in applying for a voluntary transfer need to apply electronically on the District Intranet.
  • A minimum of the 3 most senior teachers that apply for any position must be interviewed.

Additional Vacancies after Voluntary Transfer Process

  • Positions will be listed on the District 186 website through the third Friday in July.
  • Currently-employed teachers may apply for these positions after the second Friday in May.
  • There is no obligation to interview based on seniority.

ESP Procedures

  • The process is very similar to certified staff.
  • Occurs 1 month prior to the beginning of the school year.

‘Contract Fulfilled’

  • Released at the March 6th board meeting.
  • Hired prior to August 1.
  • Hired August 2 or after.
  • Update contact information with the district.

If you have questions, email SEA president, Crysta Weitekamp at or call her at 217-787-7060.

After-school programs on chopping block again (, 2/18/18)

Federally funded after-school programs that serve about 1,500 students in Springfield are once again on the chopping block in President Donald Trump’s budget proposal.

This is the second year Trump has proposed axing the federal program known as 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Congress last year overturned the president’s request and restored $1.2 billion, keeping the sites open nationwide and in Springfield.

The administration argued there is no evidence the program has been effective, a claim leaders of the sites said simply was not true.

Bill Legge, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Illinois, said last week he expects funding will remain.

“I’m not freaking out because we’ve been here,” Legge said. “This is one of the programs that is very well supported on both sides of the aisle.”

The federal program helps school districts, churches and nonprofit groups nationwide provide after-school programs for 1.7 million schoolchildren, predominantly from low-income households.

In Springfield, the Boys & Girls Clubs and the Springfield Urban League use the federal funds to operate 20 after-school sites at District 186 schools, as well as at St. Patrick Catholic School and the local chapter of the NAACP’s back-to-school/after-school program at Calvary Academy.

Each site is open until 6:30 p.m. While there, students get help with their homework from certified teachers, a healthy snack and experience enrichment opportunities, such as garden club, dance lessons and playing basketball.

The federal program costs parents $40 per year, but waivers and reduced amounts are offered. It is one of two options available for Springfield parents for after-school supervision at schools.

The other, offered by the Springfield School District, is known as SCOPE. The district’s program, however, is more expensive, at $70 per week for full-time students.

Several parents last year said if 21st Century was eliminated, they would be forced to scramble to find child care and may be forced to quit their jobs.

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