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Article updated: 6/5/2013 6:33 PM

U-46 lunch supervisor policy causes safety concerns

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Elgin Area School District U-46 will implement a new lunch monitor policy next year that has some parents concerned about safety.

Layoffs of more than 500 "noon-hour supervisors" in the district's elementary schools took effect last week after they oversaw the final lunches of the 2012-13 school year. Some of them will be rehired next year, but not all.

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The district historically has had no staffing standards for the supervisors, according to U-46 Chief of Staff Tony Sanders. That has caused differences across schools that officials sought to standardize with a new policy.

Starting next year, elementary schools will get one lunch supervisor for every 45 students.

Sanders said the former method of allocating staffers was supposed to be based on the number of classrooms but didn't take into account the number of students.

"There was no per-pupil calculation," Sanders said.

But the chosen ratio of supervisors to students isn't sufficient for some parents who are worried playground accidents will increase as fewer adults monitor children during the lunchtime recess.

Lunch supervisors are only hired for elementary schools in U-46. Based on the new policy, each school should have at least five supervisors, according to Sanders.

"We are working with our elementary principals to ensure that student safety remains a priority," Sanders said.

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