Concerns Arise After Nearly 50 Zion Teachers, Staff Quit Right Before New School Year

Mike Krauser
August 21, 2019 - 11:53 am

ZION, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) - Nearly 50 teachers and staff members have quit or retired from a school district in Lake County before the start of a new year.

Zion Elementary District 6 said the departures are "typical of the ebb-and-flow of a school district." But the union that represents Zion educators said it's been difficult to keep staff because of financial reasons and other factors.

Some former educators in the district called the teaching environment "toxic" including retiree Lynn Butera.

“It’s about the climate and culture, and the climate and culture has become very toxic,” Butera told CBS 2. “They are lacking that support, and they are lacking that family feel, they are lacking the ability to get the job done."

At least 48 teachers, support staff, and office employees had their resignations accepted Monday at a board meeting - a week before the start of the new school year - which is raising concerns for some parents. 

“It’s a little unfortunate, but I hope that they get more workers; more teachers there; get more people on the team,” said parent, Tiara Jones.

The school year starts Monday. District spokeswoman Donelle Staples told CBS 2 that core classrooms will be led by certified teachers. She released a statement reading: 

“On August 19, 2019, our Board of Education approved a number of routine personnel actions, typical of the ebb-and-flow of a school district. These resignations, medical leaves and a number of retirements were received over the past several months from teachers, support staff and office personnel.

“As the District enters the third year of a comprehensive effort to improve our culture of teaching and learning and drive student achievement, we look forward to the start of the school year on Monday, August 26. Our core instructional classrooms will be staffed and ready with certified teachers. Additionally we are proud that we are fully staffed to rollout our new dual language program for PreK and Kindergarten students as well as our full and half-day preschool program.”