PEORIA (Radio WMBD) – A splash pad is the cause of a war of words between Peoria Public Schools and its teachers union.
In separate social media posts on Monday, the Peoria Federation of Teachers Local 780 accused the district of spending about $2 million in fine arts grant money for the Annie Jo Gordon Community Learning Center splash pad project.
The union says some schools in the district have no art teachers and those in the PPS “have yet to buy their own supplies”. She also mentions that there is an existing splash pad near the one planned for Annie Jo Gordon that is only two years old.
Requests for union interviews by WMBD Radio News went unanswered.
Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, in a PPS statement, said the grant is additional money that represents a one-time opportunity for the district to “provide innovative experiences for students.” She adds that said grant money is used to fund a music studio at Peoria High, as well as the splash pad.
Desmoulin-Kherat says the location of the splash pad was chosen to be accessible to the underprivileged in the community and for students to enjoy music-related activities during the day.
He says the district is also using existing grant funding and other funding sources to invest in art materials and furniture, hiring seven more middle school band instructors and a part-time fire arts coordinator.
Desmoulin-Kherat also says that “it is disappointing that when making investments in the 61605 area, it calls itself a waste of money.”
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