Parent Letter, November 8, 2021, English and Spanish
November 8, 2021
Dear Parents and Guardians:
I am writing to provide updates on a couple of important matters for our students and families.
Course Selection Process and Graduation Requirements
As early as the 2023-24 school year, Warren Township High School District 121 may need to move to a seven-period school day (in place of our current eight-period day) due to financial challenges resulting from our low funding.
During the 2022-23 course selection process, which starts this week, parents and students should be mindful of the potential reduction in course offerings if the district needs to implement a seven-period school day. This could have a significant impact on your student’s academic plans.
The Board of Education has approved a recommendation to reduce the required graduation credits from 22.5 to 18.5, effective for the class of 2022 and beyond. The reduction is solely in the general elective requirements, which has been reduced from 5.5 to 1.5 credits. Graduation requirements in all other subject areas are not affected by this change. The new requirement of 18.5 credits is still greater than the 16 credits required by the state of Illinois.
This reduction is based on several factors, including an analysis of struggling students over the last few years. With this change, we look to support all students as they seek their diploma.
If the district were to move to a seven-period school day, the new graduation requirement of 18.5 credits would remain in place, as it will continue to be appropriate — even with a decrease in course opportunities.
The Board of Education approved placement of a tax rate increase referendum question on the ballot for June 28, 2022. This decision is a result of the referendum question that did not receive enough votes to pass in April 2021, as well as the ongoing revenue challenges the district faces.
At this time, the district anticipates the need to reduce approximately 13 more permanent positions for the 2022-23 school year, in addition to the 66 positions that have been eliminated over the last several years. The district is also planning the elimination of entry-level athletic teams for all sports, beginning in fall 2022. Sports with four levels of participation will be reduced to three, sports with three levels of participation will be reduced to two, and sports with two levels of participation will be reduced to one — with the entry-level team being eliminated in each case. This action will reduce student participation opportunities.
If a successful referendum occurs in June 2022 election, the board will allow the district to restore these entry-level teams, as well as preserving current band staffing (one of the tentative staffing reductions for next school year). This allowance would be to the extent possible, based on the time available prior to the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. A successful referendum would also allow our district to maintain our current eight-period day for our students.
John P. Ahlgrim, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools