Illinois Youth Center in Harrisburg says it plans to hire teachers to fill the seven vacancies created when Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees voted to terminate contracts for teachers working at IYC in March.
American Federal of State, County and Municipal Employees — the union representing the teachers being laid off — blames the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice for the layoffs.
"The state could provide the opportunity for a child to have a chance to succeed and earn a high school diploma while living inside the walls of the juvenile facility. The Department of Juvenile Justice has made the decision not to extend the vocational classes for the children at Harrisburg," reads a statement AFSCME.
IYC announced through Springfield spokesman Jennifer Florent Wednesday that it is not laying off teachers, as claimed by the union and that it does intend to fill the positions.
"SIC willingly terminated their contract in a letter received by the Department of Juvenile Justice dated March 20, 2013," said Florent. "The termination of the contract was a choice made by SIC not the DJJ. To fill the gap that will be left by the departure of these contractual employees, the DJJ will aggressively pursue the hiring of vocational instructors, who will be state employees, to ensure that the programming for the youth at IYC-Harrisburg will continue."
AFSCME representative Ty Petersen had said in a press release, "These children can't receive a high school diploma because the curriculum will no longer exist when these teachers are terminated on June 30."
SIC terminated its contract with the state due to lack of payment by the state.