The special problems of small and rural schools are now locked up in a three-year study completed through the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools. The report says you might consider everything outside of Chicago and the suburbs a small or rural Illinois school, or both.

Gary DePatis, superintendent of the Pekin High School District, was superintendent at Greenview and president of the association when the study began. He says the survey was meant to give those schools a voice.

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“People look down on rural education, and it is not necessarily the case that it needs to be that way,” says DePatis.“There are a lot of positives that come out of rural education, just as there are positives that come out of suburban and urban education. It depends on what each individual family and student really wants for their child.”

Educators filling out the survey surprised DePatis in at least one regard: the level of concern that teachers are working outside of their major area of instruction is lower than he expected.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /