Staff, Families Decry Pekin School Board During Meeting


For the first hour of Monday night’s meeting, the Pekin School Board heard public comments from staff and families that voiced issues including a toxic work environment, lack of trust in the school board, and constant administration turnover.

Katie Phillips illustrated the multiple changes during her comments.

“Going back 15 years in Pekin’s history, we have had seven superintendents and 10 secondary principals.” Katie Phillips

The school board accepted the resignation of Superintendent Derek Philips on March 25. In a statement, the school board said the Great Prairie Area Education Agency will provide superintendent services in the interim while the school district looks for a replacement for Philips.

Johannah Neff is an instructional coach at Pekin and she talked about history repeating itself.

“Almost two years ago, I stood right here and gave a speech at a board meeting along with many others sharing our concerns and frustrations on topics such as admin turnover, supporting and trusting the admin, respect, and the lack in the chain of command. I feel like we are here tonight rehashing those same topics. Obviously what we’ve been doing isn’t working and that is very frustrating to me and others.” Pekin Instructional Coach Johannah Neff

An anonymous survey was given to Pekin staff and the results were shared during the board meeting. 44 staff members took the survey and nearly 80 percent believed the school district has headed in a negative direction over the last five years. Additionally, 35 of the 44 respondents said they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the school board.

The Pekin Community School District currently serves 642 students.

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