District 25 to pay at least $1.3 million to hire new kindergarten and gym teachers

At least a dozen teachers will be hired to staff Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 classrooms when expanded kindergarten programming begins next school year, the school board decided this week.

As many as 20 new teachers could ultimately be needed when full-day kindergarten comes online next August - if the highest enrollment projections come to fruition, district officials said.

Officials also will hire four new physical education teachers to comply with a state mandate that the district increase its P.E. offerings from two periods per week to three. District 25 has been able to get a waiver since it has an extra recess period, but that waiver expires next year.

"We're just adding more time, now we need more teachers," said Brian Kaye, the district's assistant superintendent of personnel and planning. "And that's at every elementary building."

The district also plans to hire at least one kindergarten "special area" teacher - for music and P.E. - at least one food service employee and two custodians to support full-day kindergarten.

In total, the added annual personnel costs are projected to be between $1.3 million and $1.8 million.

Kaye sought the school board's approval of the personnel plan Tuesday night so he could get an early start on hiring. Normally, that process starts in February or March, but Kaye said he expects there to be demand for new kindergarten teachers as soon as this winter, since other districts also will be looking.

Before posting the kindergarten positions externally, Kaye said he planned to offer current District 25 teachers the opportunity to apply.

The personnel plan comes as the infrastructure to support the new programming is put in place. Building expansions are underway at six elementary schools - for a total of 25 new kindergarten classrooms - as authorized by voters last year in a $75 million tax-increase referendum.

Last week, the village board approved the district's request to double the size of the Patton Elementary gymnasium - one of the remaining small gyms in the district - to accommodate added P.E. classes.

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