SAVOY, Ill. (WCIA) – Educators at Head Start in Savoy said they’ve been placed in other Champaign County Head Start buildings and they were shocked when they got the news.
They said they feel disrespected by the way this was handled. That’s because on a Friday, just after five, they were sent an email telling them their building would be closed this year.
WCIA got a copy of that email. It was sent July 15th. It said “Due to the number of vacancies, our program is temporarily consolidating the Savoy Center to fill as many positions as possible at the other four centers”.
The teachers at Savoy said that’s the first time they heard about the closing. Then they said they got an email of their new assignment. Changing their locations and in some cases changing the times they work.
It’s left a lot of them confused and concerned. Adding up to 30 minutes to their commute each day in some cases. In other cases, changing their hours to make it difficult or even impossible for them to get their own children from child care.
Not only that, students who attend the Savoy Head Start now have to go somewhere else in the county.
The teachers said they just wish they had been a part of the conversation.
“We just don’t want to be randomly thrown around. We are not classroom furniture. You can take a table and give it to a new classroom, but we’re people, we want communication,” Laura Wilcox, a pre-K teacher at the Savoy Head Start, said.
In that original email, it said three Savoy classrooms will be moved to the West Champaign site. So, those kids and teachers will stay together.
It goes on to say the remaining staff and child slots will be placed in a second Champaign site, Urbana and Rantoul.
As of right now, transportation services will be provided to the students enrolled in the West Champion center.
We reached out to the director and assistant director of the county’s Head Start programs, but have not heard back.
The email sent to teachers said leaders are working on recruiting and retaining staff for the head start programs. They said they’re also working to address lowering classroom sizes and planning time.