West Central School District’s recognition status lowered after defying Gov. Pritzker’s school mask mandate

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 5:26 AM CDT
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BIGGSVILLE, Ill. (KWQC) - The Illinois State Board of Education has lowered the recognition status of West Central School District less than a week after the school board voted to ignore Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s school mask mandate.

In a letter to district families, Superintendent Paula Markey said she received a letter from ISBE lowering the district’s recognition status to “on probation” for exhibiting “deficiencies that present a health hazard or a danger to students or staff.”

Markey further said in the letter that ISBE will be contacting her to set up a phone conference to discuss compliance issues with represented of the state board and that the district must submit a corrective plan to the Regional Superintendent of Schools and State Superintendent within 60 days.

On Aug. 10, the West Central School District Board of Education voted 5-2 to start the 2021-22 school year without requiring masks for students, defying Pritzker’s school mask for all Prek-12 schools.

If ISBE revokes the district’s recognition status, state and federal funding could be cut and students would be ineligible to participate in athletics.

In a message to Illinois superintendents, Dr. Carmen Ayala, State Superintendent of Education, said non-compliance with the governor’s mandate is, “not an option.”

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