Dist. 86 board signs off on 2022-23 staffing

Hinsdale High School District 86 Board members have approved an increase in staffing levels for the upcoming school year, driven primarily by the addition of a biology-first science sequence at Hinsdale South.

At its March 24 meeting, the board unanimously voted in favor of the administration’s recommendation of 342.1 licensed staff full-time equivalents for the 2022-23 year, a net increase of 1.3 FTE over the current year. Bumps at South of 2.9 FTE and the Transition Center of 1.2 FTE are partially offset by a decrease at Hinsdale Central of 1.7 FTE.

During a staffing presentation at the March 10 committee of the whole meeting, Central Principal Bill Walsh said the reduction at his school was based on class selections.

“Student course selections vary from year to year, especially in electives, and we saw that this year,” Walsh said.

Class sizes also broke more neatly within size parameters, he noted.

“That wasn’t the case last year, and you never know how it’s going to play out next year,” Walsh said.

Superintendent Tammy Prentiss said the district’s strategic plan goals of achieving curriculum alignment and course parity between Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South shapes that evaluative process.

Cheryl Moore, assistant superintendent of human resources, said the increases at South is a multiyear endeavor.

“This does require a three-year commitment to the biology(-first) sequence at South, which means we will need to add staff each year for the next three years to maintain that,” she said.

Moore added that administrators also eliminated some “stacking” of classes in subjects like French, where students of different levels share a class, and reduced class sizes “to get a little bit more parity with how Central staffing lined up in those same courses.”

Officials said each school will have a total of 24 stacked courses next school year.

Chris Covino, assistant superintendent for academics, told the board that the district intends to complete its curriculum alignment and course parity work by the 2025-26 school year.

Chief Financial Officer Josh Stephenson outlined the financial impact of the staffing plan, projecting a nearly $600,000 deficit for the 2023 fiscal year but with slight surpluses in subsequent years. That could change if retiring teachers are replaced with less experienced — and less expensive — successors.

“That is something to keep in mind as we consider staff replacements in future years,” Stephenson said.

Prentiss said the district conducts a cost-benefit analysis.

“Our objective has always been to have that balance between academic opportunities and fiscal discipline,” she said.

Central offers 83 courses that aren’t offered at South, while South has 30 unique courses.

Officials said Central’s projected enrollment is expected to drop from 2,508 to 2,448 next year, while South is expected to grow from 1,266 to 1,283. But they noted that class selections, not enrollment forecasts, are used for staff planning.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean